Red and Green: Surviving the Most Common Color Blindness


Red-green color blindness, also known as deuteranomaly, is the most prevalent form of color vision deficiency. It affects how the eyes detect and process red and green hues. For those with red-green color blindness, distinguishing between reds, greens, browns and oranges poses consistent difficulties as these colors seem indistinguishable or appear different shades entirely.

About 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women have red-green color confusion. There is no cure, but with creative adaptive techniques, emerging assistive technology and compassion from community, those with red-green color blindness can confidently navigate daily obstacles and thrive. This article explores practical coping strategies and the perspectives of those living with the most common type of color vision deficiency. Their world is not only survivable, but brings rare and valuable insights.

Day-to-Day Difficulties

While severity ranges individually, those with red-green color blindness face routine mix-ups and frustrations attempting to differentiate problematic hues. From interpreting data to driving to selecting produce, red-green color confusion complicates many mundane activities.

Traffic and Signal Lights

With stoplights and signal colors problematic, those with red-green color blindness must take extra precautions at intersections. Relying on light position over hue and verifying uncertain colors prevents dangerous errors.

Interpreting Data

Color-coded graphs, maps and visual data used for work or school seem unintelligible to those with red-green color blindness, as the problematic hues appear indistinguishable. Shades obscure patterns and meaning without alternate cues.

Preparing Food

Choosing ripe produce, reading doneness of meats, even grabbing the intended condiment poses risks when red and green food items appear deceptively similar. Cooking and dining become rife with accidental mishaps.

Appreciating Nature

Those with red-green color blindness cannot fully experience the subtle gradients of a green forest, red sunset, or the tones of autumn leaves. Vibrant nature lacks dimension without distinguishing certain hues.

Impacts on Career and School

Color-coded systems embedded in many academic and professional settings present unnecessary barriers to the red-green colorblind without proper accommodations and assistive technologies.

Learning Materials

Interpreting colored diagrams, maps, data sets and other materials poses challenges for colorblind students without alternate formats. Key information gets lost or requires added effort to parse meaning.

Specialized Careers

Certain occupations like graphic design, healthcare, aviation and electrical work requiring high color acuity prove more difficult for the red-green colorblind to access safely. This excludes capable, qualified candidates.

Color-Coded Workflows

Assembling colored wires, differentiating interface elements, or reading color-coded production charts prove unnecessarily complex for red-green colorblind employees without accommodations like alternate formats, verification assistance from colleagues, or tools like portable color analyzers.

Securing Assistance

Many coworkers and educators are ignorant of color blindness challenges. Those affected must overcome stigma to disclose their needs and request reasonable aids and accommodations in order to perform optimally. But resources exist.

Products and Resources

Specialized glasses, handy gadgets, helpful smartphone apps and online communities provide useful assistance navigating red-green color blindness.

Tinted Lenses and Glasses

Optical filters and specialized tints may help boost problematic red and green hues for some with color blindness, increasing ability to differentiate key shades. While not a cure, enhanced chromatic intensity and contrast improves color clarity.

Smartphone Apps

Applications like Colorfy allow scanning surroundings with your camera and receive audible readout of detected colors in real time. Others assign symbols or sounds to shades. This assists accurate identification when uncertain.

Portable Color Analyzers

Gadgets like Oxxiom enable scanning any surface or material to detect the specific color, which is then spoken aloud or displayed. Helpful for reading test results, identifying wires, matching uncertain colors etc. Provides verification.

Online Groups and Forums

Connecting with others experiencing red-green color confusion via communities like Color Blind Pal provides camaraderie, problem-solving insights, product reviews, and empathy. You gain valuable perspective into practical coping strategies.

Adaptive Strategies

Implementing creative organizational systems, leveraging technology aids, building support networks and rethinking environments enhances functioning for those with red-green color blindness.

Color-Organized Systems

Categorizing clothes, belongings and items by textures, labels, patterns and locations rather than color allows easy identification and coordination without reliance on hue. This streamlines everyday organization.

Verification Tools

Use color decoder apps and portable analyzers when uncertain to verify the exact shade of items. Scanning and hearing the proper color builds confidence choosing produce, wires, clothing and more.

Support Teams

Enlist willing colleagues, friends and family who can provide quick assist when needed identifying uncertain colors in surroundings. Most are happy to help when aware how they can support you.

Adapted Environments

Modify lighting, glare and patterns at home, work and in vehicles to maximize your ability to discern details and shades. Proper controlled conditions greatly impact color perception abilities.


Advocating for your needs and helping others understand red-green color blindness fosters increased inclusion, independence and accessibility.

Explain Your Perspective

Educate close circles on how you specifically experience red-green color blindness, which hues are indistinguishable, examples of resulting frustrations, and how allies can provide discreet assist when needed. Build compassion through sharing your reality.

Provide Design Feedback

Respectfully recommend organizations, companies and institutions implement more colorblind-friendly practices in interfaces, informational materials, product designs, signage etc. Your insider input makes a difference.

Request Assistance

Don't be shy asking colleagues, staff, friends for quick help interpreting charts, diagrams and other color-coded information you struggle reading independently. Most gladly assist when made aware it's needed.

Share Your Stories

By publicly sharing your personal experiences with red-green color blindness on social media or within circles, you foster awareness and demystify the condition. Increased understanding leads to greater accommodation.

Appreciating Your Unique Perspective

While color blindness imposes difficulties, adjusting to this unique view also cultivates unexpected perceptual gifts if reframed positively.

Enhanced Night Vision

Many with red-green color blindness report excelling at seeing in low light conditions. Neuroplasticity strengthens their light sensitivity and acuity, gifting an ability to ably navigate darkness.

Detail Orientation

Unable to fixate on colors, the red-green colorblind often develop enhanced attentiveness to textures, patterns, tones, contrasts and ultra-nuanced visual details. This discernment becomes a strength.

Innovative Problem-Solving

Adapting to color blindness encourages out-of-the-box thinking, creativity in overcoming challenges, and strengthening perceptual skills aside from color differentiation. These transferable cognitive talents have value.

Rare Perspective

Total color blindness provides rare and insightful perspective on the visual world that warrants appreciation. This diversity of vision offers society value through exposing taken-for-granted assumptions about color reliance.

Living Well Despite Challenges

With compassionate support and reframing color blindness as a unique perspective rather than deficiency, those affected can build confidence in their vision and thrive.

Take Pride in Your Vision

Don't internalize Others' assumptions that your red-green color perception is faulty or inadequate. You simply see the world in your own vibrant, nuanced way. Diversity of sight has worth.

Seek Community

Connect with other red-green colorblind individuals who provide validation and share your experiences. Find acceptance, advice and resources to cultivate self-esteem. You are not alone on this journey.

Reframe Weaknesses

What appear as weaknesses due to color blindness actually reflect strengths like detail orientation, pattern recognition, low light vision, and creative problem solving. Reframing deficits bolsters self-confidence.

Forge Your Own Path

Don't let societal color dependence limit your pursuits. With adaptive tools and technologies, you can access any passion and career. Let your talents and interests guide your ambitions; don't prematurely restrict your dreams.


While red-green color blindness poses some difficulties and dismissal, with compassionate support, adaptive strategies and reframing limitations as strengths, a promising future unfolds for the colorblind community.

By championing accessibility, spreading awareness, and championing your valuable insights, you hold power to create positive change in society. By coming together and uplifting voices, progress awaits in equity, inclusion and independence for the colorblind.

The future is bright for those who see red and green differently. Rather than a disadvantage, honing your rare perspective gifts you - and society - empowerment. You have so much to offer; don't let anything hold you back from pursing it.