Accessibility & Technology

Use of Contrast to Improve Clarity

Jun 18, 2024

Use of Contrast to Improve Clarity

Contrast sensitivity declines with age, and is accelerated by eye diseases and disorders. It becomes noticeable when we place a white object on a white surface and it disappears. The same occurs with dark objects on dark surfaces, and many variations in between. In other words it’s about how well an object can be seen against it’s background in conditions that simulate low light, fog or glare. Low contrast complicates reading text and viewing images. The highest contrast scheme for legibility is simply black and white. 

When things seem to disappear before your eyes, it’s time to implement strategies to compensate for reduced contrast vision. Here are some of the best ways to adjust.

Enhance lighting.

  • Use maximum wattage in kitchens, bathrooms, halls and stairways
  • Add task lighting for detailed work and reading

Minimize contrast issues preparing, serving and enjoying food.

  • Use light color plates on dark placemats with contrasting napkins
  • Pour dark liquids into light colored cups and vice versa
  • Prep foods on contrasting cutting boards

Review 10 Kitchen Tips for Low Vision Cooks

Accessibility and style co-exist at home.

  • Go bold with color and contrast in furniture and accessories
  • Accentuate your space with attention to lighting to enhance safety, comfort and style
  • Consult Nate’s Low Vision Makeover

Make digital screens easier to see. 

  • Personalize contrast, display and text setting to improve screen legibility
  • Contact Accessibility Support Phone Lines at Apple, Microsoft and Google for specialized assistance in maximizing visual and speech options
  • Video magnifiers not only enlarge text and images, they offer options to adjust contrast for a clearer view

Use bolder black ink markers for better writing clarity.

For example try the BoldWriter Pens from our Low Vision Gifts List

When the item you’re looking for mysteriously disappears, try this total tech solution.

  • Be My AI in the Be My Eyes app can help find an item lost in a room, take a photo with the app and ask if your missing item (smartphone, AirPod case, wallet, etc.) is in the photo. If it’s there, it will tell you where to find it
  • If you need more than AI, there’s an option to connect with a sighted volunteer
For comments, questions or feedback, email us, or connect on Facebook or Twitter. We would love to hear from you!

About the Author: Dorrie Rush

Dorrie Rush is the Chief Content Officer and Visual Accessibility Expert at Ophthalmic Edge Patients (OE Patients), an online resource, presented by the Association for Macular Diseases, providing practical information and empowering advice for living a full and successful life with vision loss.

She is the former Director of the Grunwald Technology Center and Information Resource Service at Lighthouse International 2001 to 2016. Dorrie is known to have an eccentric view, which is particularly useful in compensating for her central vision loss from Stargardt Disease.



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