Color contrast and low vision: 7 ways to use contrasting colors around your home

For many people with macular degeneration or other forms of vision loss, using color and contrast is a simple, low-cost strategy for maximizing remaining vision.  Here are 7 ideas you can start using today.  Most of these ideas are from WebRN-Macular Degeneration’s article, Tips for Living with Macular Degeneration.  We encourage you to check it out for even more helpful suggestions.

1) Use colored cups for water instead of clear drinking glasses.

Blue cup with water example of color contrast for low vision

2) Use a dark-rimmed plate on a white tabletop or placemat.

White plate with red rim

3) Choose a white mug for coffee.

Color contrast and low vision: Coffee in a white mug

4) When cooking, use a dark colored cutting board for light foods like onions, cauliflower, and potatoes, and a white cutting board for dark foods like leafy greens, green peppers, or zucchini.

Garlic on black cutting board

5) For bathrooms, choose brightly colored towels and mats that contrast with your counter, wall tiles, floor,

Blue bath mat against light colored tile

6) Use brightly-colored safety tape along the edge of stairs to improve visibility.


Yellow safety lines on dark staircase for color contrast and low vision .

7) When using mobile phones, apps or other digital devices like e-readers, check your settings for “dark” mode.  Typically, this will flip the contrast from white on dark to dark on white, making reading easier on your eyes.

E-reader in dark mode

There you have it, folks!  7 simple ways to start using color contrast for low vision today.  If you have other tips, drop a comment to let us know.  We always love to hear from our readers.

Author Information

By Bethany Wyshak. Reviewed by Stuart Flom.

A lighting industry specialist, Stu Flom worked at Dolan-Jenner, a leader in fiberoptic lighting, for 15 years before launching his own company in 1994. As product manager, Stu helped find lighting solutions for clients in such diverse areas as photography, microscopy, robotics and automotive manufacturing. He was also involved in supplying the fiberoptics illuminating the Hope Diamond exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. A member of the International Society for Optics & Photonics (SPIE), Stu was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers and is the author of several publications, including Integrating Optical Fibers in Machine Vision (Proceedings), Designing Fiber Optic Lighting for Machine Vision (Society of Manufacturing Engineers), and Light Up with Fiber Optics (Vision). Prior to his work in lighting, Stu was a special education teacher. Stu’s expertise in lighting and background in education form the backbone of his company. As AdaptiVision’s founder and president, Stu is dedicated to applying advanced lighting technology to assist people struggling with low vision, teaching them how to use technology to achieve greater independence.


WebRN-MacularDegeneration. (n.d.). Living with Macular Degeneration – Color and Contrast is King. Retrieved June 8, 2022, from