How to Manage When Reds and Greens Get Mixed Up


Red-green color blindness, also known as deuteranomaly, is the most common form of color vision deficiency. It affects how the eyes detect and process red and green hues. Those with red-green color blindness have trouble distinguishing between reds, greens, browns, and oranges. These colors may seem dull, indistinguishable, or even appear as entirely different shades.

While there is no cure, implementing lifestyle adaptations, assistive technology, gaining sighted assistance when needed, and adopting a positive mindset empower those with red-green color confusion to confidently navigate life's colorful obstacles. Being proactive reduces frustration and errors. You can thrive and appreciate the visual vibrance around you when armed with practical coping strategies tailored to your unique needs.

This article explores tips and solutions to smooth functioning for those with red-green color blindness at home, school, work, and on the go. We'll also cover raising awareness in your circles, resources available, and maintaining constructive self-perception while managing a common yet often misunderstood condition. With the right support and adaptations, red-green color blindness need not be debilitating.

Home Life Adaptations

The home is filled with colorful cues embedded in chores, organizing systems, appliances, clothing and supplies. Making some simple changes around the house makes domestic life much more manageable with red-green color blindness.

Organize Clothes by Texture and Pattern

Sorting clothing by attributes like fabric type, sleeve style, garment function and visual patterns allows easy identification and coordination without relying on discerning color. Add tactile tags to hangers indicating clothing categories.

Apply Clear Labels

Boldly label appliances, electronics, food containers, medications and any other important items using high-contrast print. This aids fast identification and differentiation when colors are indistinguishable. Voice technology can also speak aloud labels.

Use Smart Color Identification Tools

Portable color readers and smartphone apps enable those with red-green color blindness to independently scan the colors of clothes, appliances, electronics and decipher if they are problematic red/green shades. Helpful for double checking uncertain items.

Optimize Contrast and Lighting

Ensure ample, high quality lighting throughout the home to maximize clarity. Task lighting, controlling glare, adjusting bulb color temperature, and minimizing busy patterns simplifies distinguishing red and green hues. Proper lighting conditions aid tremendously.

School and Workplace Accommodations

Navigating the prevalent color-coding embedded in educational materials, data visualizations, wiring, and computer interfaces poses added challenges in academic and professional settings for the red-green color blind. But accommodations and assistive technologies help minimize unnecessary barriers to achievement.

Explain Your Needs Clearly

Politely educate teachers, disability services, supervisors, and workplace IT/HR departments on your red-green colorblindness. Explain specifically how it impacts your functioning and what accommodations help provide accessibility in your role. Increased understanding leads to greater support.

Request Alternate Color Formats

Ask educators and employers to provide alternate versions of color-coded materials using iconography, shapes, patterns, and text to convey information. Most are responsive when informed directly. This allows accurately interpreting graphics, data, wiring schematics etc.

Utilize Color Reader Tools

Portable digital color readers and smartphone apps enable those with red-green color blindness to independently scan charts, diagrams, colored wiring and immediately receive an audible readout of the detected color. Helpful tech assists for the workplace or academic setting.

Colleague Assistance

Discreetly enlist an understanding coworker or classmate who can provide quick verification of colors as needed when interpreting graphs, electronics, maps etc. Having an ally and backup check prevents mix-ups. Most are happy to help when made aware.

Traveling and Getting Around

Getting from Point A to Point B poses added obstacles for the red-green color blind navigating the colorful world of transportation systems, signage, and signals. But adaptive techniques smooth the way.

Double Check Uncertain Traffic Lights

Use extra caution verifying traffic stoplight colors. Cross reference signals to other lights or enable color blind modes on GPS apps to provide audio color alerts. Apps can also scan streetlights and identify the color. Take your time navigating intersections.

Ask for Help Reading Maps and Wayfinding

Politely request assistance from friends or staff when attempting to interpret color-coded maps, transit diagrams or navigational signage. Most sighted people gladly help decipher the route when made aware. Don't hesitate to ask.

Leverage Color Blind Travel Apps

Navigation apps like Colorblind Pal allow entering start and end points, then provide audio step-by-step guidance naming landmarks, reading signs, and noting required vehicle/transit colors for those with red-green color blindness. Helpful for independent travel in new areas.

Try Color Enhancing Lenses

Specialized chromatic lenses and glasses with optical filters may help boost color contrast and clarity for some with red-green color vision deficiency. While not a cure, for many these can aid differentiating problematic traffic and indicator colors. Test to determine effectiveness.

Products and Resources

Specialized glasses, handy color identifying gadgets, helpful smartphone apps and online communities provide useful resources to better navigate red-green color blindness.

Color Decoding Glasses

Tinted lenses and smart glasses with optical filters may help some with red-green color blindness better distinguish problem colors by enhancing contrast and chromatic intensity. Products like EnChroma expand the range of discernible hues. Results vary individually.

Portable Color Readers

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

Color Identifier Apps

Smartphone applications like Colorfy use your camera to identify problematic colors in real time via spoken audio description. Scanning produce, electronics, clothing etc. and hearing the exact shade provides confidence.

Online Groups and Forums

Connecting with others experiencing red-green color confusion via communities like Color Blind Pal provides camaraderie, insider tips, product reviews, and more. You gain valuable insight into practical coping strategies.

Raising Awareness and Self-Advocacy

While adaptive aids are useful, fostering understanding and willingness to provide assistance from family, friends, educators and employers is also key for smooth navigation of red-green color blindness. Speaking up empowers you.

Explain Your Needs

Take time to educate loved ones, circles and key contacts on what red-green colorblindness looks like specifically for you. Provide examples of when it causes obstacles, and how allies can discreetly help verify uncertain colors when needed. A little awareness goes a long way.

Give Feedback on Inaccessible Design

Respectfully provide companies, organizations and institutions with recommendations on how they could improve products, curriculums, services and interfaces to increase accessibility for the red-green color blind. Your insider input can influence positive change.

Ask for Readability Help

WhenNeeded, politely ask friends, family, coworkers for quick assist reading charts, diagrams, maps and other color-coded information that poses difficulty to you. Most sighted people are happy to help interpret if aware it's needed.

Share Your Experiences

By publicly sharing your personal stories and perspectives about living with red-green color blindness on social media or within your circles, you help friends better understand this often "invisible" condition, fostering awareness and willingness to help.

Adopting a Positive Mindset

In addition to practical adaptations, cultivating self-compassion, focusing on strengths, and maintaining constructive perspective empowers those with red-green color blindness to confidently navigate life's colorful obstacles.

Practice Patience and Self-Kindness

When you make the occasional mistake due to color confusion, respond gently and patiently to yourself, as you would a loved one. Don't let perfectionistic tendencies add shame to the experience. Progress comes slowly but surely.

Focus on Your Perceptual Positives

While you have trouble distinguishing reds and greens, remember your mind is likely very adept at noticing subtleties in textures, details, tones and patterns. Reframe weaknesses as strengths - you have unique and valuable perceptual talents.

Don't Let Confusion Prevent Participation

Don't allow uncertainty around colors to prevent you fully enjoying hobbies, interests and activities. Implement adaptations creatively, use aids as needed, ask for assistance when required, but pursue passions boldly. With support, you can do anything.

Surround Yourself with Understanding

Seek out communities, friends and partners who "get" red-green color blindness. Those who provide empathy, patience and sighted help when needed. You deserve accommodation and compassion.


While red-green color blindness certainly poses some difficulties navigating a colorful world, proactively implementing practical lifestyle adaptations, leveraging available assistive tech, gaining sighted assistance when needed, and maintaining constructive self-perception allows those affected to confidently seize life's possibilities.

Specific accommodations foster achievement at school, work and in hobbies. Aids like color-enhancing lenses and identifier apps cultivate independence. But compassion, community and self-advocacy empower as well.

Rather than a disability, reframing red-green color blindness as a unique perspective with insider insights to offer allows those affected to recognize their perceptual capabilities and talents. With the right strategies, you can minimize color confusion and see the world vibrantly.