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LOW VISION
CENTER

Winning Solutions for Failing Sight
Serving Our Community Since 1979



The Importance of Contrast

Using contrast is a key coping strategy for people with visual impairments. The more contrast, the easier it is to find and use objects around the house. Below are a few hints for using contrast to maximize vision in the kitchen, bathroom, around the house and outdoors.

Kitchen

  • When pouring a light-colored drink, such as milk, use a dark glass. When pouring a dark-colored drink, such as cola, use a white glass. Avoid clear glasses as they tend to disappear from view.

  • Use white dishes when eating dark colored food, and use dark dishes when eating light colored food.

  • To make dishes easier to find on the table, use a tablecloth or placemats that are the opposite color of the dishes.

  • When measuring dark-colored food, like coffee, use white measuring cups. Use black measuring cups to measure light colored food, like flour and sugar.

  • Install contrasting colored handles on doors and drawers.

  • Use contrasting colored stickers or dots to mark oven dials, microwave switches, dishwashers, and other appliances.

  • Place black coasters on white counters and then place light colored drinks and other light objects, such as pills, on the coaster to make them easy to find and less likely to be knocked over.

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Bathroom

  • For white countertops, use dark colored toothbrushes, soap dishes, etc. For black countertops, use white toothbrushes, soap dishes, etc.

  • In a white bathroom, a dark bathmat draped over a white tub will make the tub easier to see. Similarly, a dark toilet seat cover will make a white toilet easier to see. Contrasting colored towels are also helpful.

  • Use a light-colored bottle for conditioner and a dark bottle for shampoo to make it easier to grab the correct product in the shower.

  • If the shower walls and tub are white, use colored soap.

  • Avoid clear objects or objects that match the counter. They tend to disappear from view.

  • A magnifying mirror can help with shaving, applying make-up, and other self-care tasks.

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General Areas of the House

  • A light bedspread against a dark carpet will make a bed easier to see.

  • In a room with mostly dark tones, place light colored pillows or chairs in strategic places to help you find things and get around easily.

  • Put contrasting stripes on the edges of steps to make the steps visible and prevent the steps from disappearing from view.

  • Contrasting colored molding can help improve mobility.

  • Use cover plates that contrast with the surrounding wall color to make electrical outlets and switches easier to locate.  For more contrast, you can have the switches and outlets themselves replaced with ones that contrast with the cover plates.  For example, on a white wall you can have an ivory colored outlet surrounded by a brown cover plate.

  • On the telephone, place a dot or sticker on the #5 to assist with dialing. It is easier to find the rest of the numbers when you know where the #5 is.

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Outdoors

  • Paint gates and doors different colors than the rest of their respective fences and walls to make entrances easier to locate.

  • Where the lawn and the flowerbeds meet, place light-colored stones or edging material.

  • To make your flowers more visible, plant yellow and white flowers against a red brick wall. Plant dark red flowers against white siding.

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