Coping Strategies for Mild Color Vision Problems in Daily Life


Minor color vision deficiency, also called anomalous trichromacy, is a mild type of color blindness where an individual has difficulty distinguishing certain shades and hues. While they don't have full color blindness, they do see colors slightly differently than most people. This can cause occasional difficulty reading colored charts, identifying colored signals or wires, mixing up clothes colors, and other subtle mix-ups.

But with some simple adaptive strategies, minor color vision abnormalities need not pose significant obstacles in daily life. In fact, with just a little awareness, implementation of tools as needed, and compassion from loved ones, those with mild color confusion can confidently navigate any coloring mishaps. Here we will explore practical tips and solutions to smooth functioning for those with minor color deficiencies in key facets of life.

Understanding Your Specific Color Blindness

The first step is diagnosing your particular type of color anomaly through basic vision testing. This allows you to learn the specifics of your color perception strengths and weaknesses.

Get Tested

Meet with an eye doctor or general practitioner for basic color vision screening to determine your particular colorblindness type and severity. Knowing details like which hues are problematic allows you to implement targeted strategies. Don't just assume you have issues without professional assessment.

Learn Your Color Perception Profile

Once diagnosed, research to deeply understand your specific color vision profile. For example, if you have deutanomaly, you'll know it causes red-green color confusion. But specifically learn which shades of red, green and brown are challenging and which are discernible. Seek out resources explaining your particular condition.

Track Your Capabilities

Make notes of situations where your color issues pose mix-ups, like electronics wiring, clothing coordination, deciphering charts, or produce selection. But also track settings where you function fine without impediment. Logging real-world examples of both frustrations and successes allows you to target adaptations strategically.

Join Online Groups

Connecting with others experiencing your same type of colorblindness provides community and advice. You can exchange insights on everything from daily coping strategies to career impacts. Shared experience provides validation and problem-solving wisdom.

Home Life Adaptations

Making some minor changes around the house to compensate for color confusion smoothes out small daily frustrations and mishaps at home for those with minor color vision deficiencies.

Use Color Assisting Tech

When uncertain about clothing colors or other home items, leverage tools like color identifier apps and portable color readers. These allow you to independently scan and verify the exact shades of perplexing items. Helpful backups for subtle color mix-ups.

Ask Family for Color Confirmation

Politely recruit willing housemates to provide quick color clarification as needed when getting dressed, cooking, choosing paints etc. Most family members are happy to assist once aware it's sometimes needed. Having a color confirmation safety net prevents frustrations.

Focus on Texture and Contrast

Practice relying more on texture, sheen, contrast, and pattern for identification when colors are unclear. Over time, you can reduce dependence on colors alone. Play to your perceptual strengths.

Optimize Lighting

Ensure ample, high quality lighting throughout living spaces to maximize your color and detail perception. Proper lighting conditions aid in distinguishing subtle hues. Reduce glare, supplement portable task lighting as needed.

School and Work Accommodations

Most academic and professional settings rely heavily on color-coded systems, graphics and materials that can be challenging for those with minor color vision issues. But accommodations exist to help minimize unnecessary obstacles.

Explain Your Needs

Inform disability/accessibility services, teachers, managers, IT/HR departments about your color vision deficiencies. Explain how it impacts your functioning and what aids help, like alternate color formats, verification assistance etc. Increased awareness leads to greater support.

Request Colorblind-Friendly Materials

Ask educators and employers to provide alternate versions of color-coded diagrams, graphics, wiring schematics etc. using secondary symbols, patterns, icons and text. Most are responsive when directly informed of accessibility needs.

Use Color Decoding Tech

Portable color readers and smartphone apps allow those with minor color confusion to independently double-check and verify chart colors, wiring, cables etc. by scanning materials and receiving audio color readout. Extremely useful academic and professional aids.

Recruit Colleague Assistance

Discreetly enlist willing classmates or coworkers to provide quick color clarification as needed when deciphering graphics, electronics and other color-dependent materials. Having trusted colleagues verify uncertain colors prevents frustrating mix-ups and errors.

Traveling and Driving with Color Deficiency

Navigating colored transit maps, traffic lights and transportation signage poses some added obstacles for those with minor color vision abnormalities. But strategies like using verifying aids and enabling supportive tech features empower confident independent travel.

Exercise Added Caution with Traffic Signals

Take a little extra time assessing traffic colors by cross referencing position and brightness. Enable color blind modes on GPS apps and phones to provide audio color alerts when possible. Apps can also scan streetlights and identify colors if uncertain.

Have Maps Double Checked

Request a family member or friend briefly verify map colors before traveling in unfamiliar areas when possible. It only takes a moment to prevent frustrating mix-ups differentiating similar hues of red, green, or blue transit lines.

Use Color Blind Travel Apps

Navigation apps like Colorblind Pal allow entering start and end locations, then provide audio turn-by-turn guidance noting landmarks and required vehicle/transit colors for those with color vision deficiency. Helpful when traveling solo in new environments.

Try Specialized Lenses

Some chromatic lenses and glasses with optical filters may boost problematic shades like red and green to improve color clarity for those with minor color confusion. While not a cure, for many these aids assist just enough with distinguishing key traffic and signage colors when driving.

Products and Resources

Various specialized eyewear, discreet gadgets and helpful smartphone apps provide assistive tech to better navigate mild color vision abnormalities. Online groups also connect those sharing similar experiences.

Colored Lenses and Filters

Certain tinted lenses and smart glasses using optical filters may help wearers with minor color issues better distinguish problem colors like reds and greens by enhancing their chromatic intensity. While not a cure, some report these specialized eyewear widen their perceivable color range and boost clarity.

Portable Color Analyzers

Pocket-sized gadgets like Oxxiom allow scanning any surface or item to detect the specific color, which is then spoken aloud or displayed. Useful for verifying uncertain wires, fabrics, produce colors etc. Provides handy color confirmation.

Color Decoder Apps

Smartphone applications like Colorfy use your camera to audibly identify colors in real time. Scanning unpredictable items and hearing the shade aids identification and matching. Helpful backup for minor color mix-ups in clothing, decor, electronics etc.

Online Forums and Groups

Connecting with others experiencing subtle color vision confusion provides community, problem-solving insights and product reviews. Shared experiences offer valuable perspective into practical coping strategies in academics, career, parenting, relationships and more.

Seeking Understanding and Support

In addition to using adaptive tech, fostering empathy and awareness in family, friends, colleagues and community also enables smoother functioning for those with minor color deficiencies in daily life.

Explain Your Specific Condition

Gently educate close circles on your particular type of colorblindness, which hues are problematic, resulting mix-ups, and how allies can discreetly help verify uncertain colors when needed. Increased empathy leads to greater willingness to assist.

Provide Design Feedback

Respectfully recommend organizations, companies and institutions implement more universally accessible practices in interfaces, informational materials, environments etc. Your insider suggestions make a difference in improving inclusion.

Ask for Occasional Readability Help

When needed, politely ask friends, staff, teachers etc. for quick assist interpreting charts, diagrams and other color-coded information you struggle reading solo. Most people gladly help once aware it's an issue and how they can support you.

Share Your Experiences

By publicly sharing your personal stories about living with minor color vision issues on social media or within your circles, you foster awareness and demystify this often “invisible” condition. Increased understanding leads to accommodation.

Maintaining a Positive Outlook

In addition to practical adaptations, cultivating self-compassion, focusing on strengths, and maintaining constructive perspective empower those with minor color deficiencies to confidently navigate mix-ups when they arise in daily life.

Practice Patience and Self-Kindness

When you make the occasional error differentiating similar hues, respond gently to yourself, as you would a loved one. Don't let perfectionistic tendencies add shame to the experience. Progress incrementally.

Focus on Your Perceptual Positives

While certain colors challenge you, remember your mind likely excels at discerning ultra-nuanced details, textures, tones and patterns the average person readily overlooks. Reframe weaknesses as rare strengths.

Don't Let Challenges Inhibit Your Passions

Don't allow occasional uncertainties and mix-ups with colors to prevent you from boldly pursuing interests, hobbies and activities you love. Adapt creatively using available aids and assistance when needed, but live fully.

Surround Yourself with Understanding

Seek out communities, friends and partners who compassionately “get” your colorblindness needs. Those who provide occasional discreet sighted help and patience empower you to confidently be yourself.


While minor color vision deficiencies certainly pose some difficulties distinguishing certain hues, proactively implementing a few practical adaptations, using assistive tech judiciously, gaining discreet sighted help when needed, and maintaining positive self-view allow those affected to smoothly navigate potential color mishaps and thrive.

Targeted accommodations foster achievement in school, work and hobbies. Portable gadgets and smartphone apps enable quick color verifications as needed. But compassion, community and self-advocacy empower as well. With the right strategies, minor color confusion doesn't have to impede someone from seeing and appreciating their vibrant surroundings.

Rather than a disability, consider your unique color perception a manifestation of the wondrous neurodiversity found across humanity. We all have strengths and weaknesses, but with compassionate support, inclusion, and practical tools to smooth over our rough edges when needed, we can work in concert to create a society accessible to all. You have much to offer if given the opportunity - own it with pride.