Colour Blind Awareness Day

Dress and make-up

A colour blind person may not know the names of the colours they like to wear and will have no idea if their colour choices suit them but nevertheless they are likely to be judged on their appearance, even if only subconsciously, by every person they meet. Often colour normal people will be aware that their colour blind colleagues and friends have a strange dress sense and probably tease them about it, but will usually not realise that the reason is colour blindness, unless their friend’s condition is actually pointed out to them.

Clothing labels are not much help either since they don’t usually give any indication of colour. If they do, often the colours are named in unusual ways e.g. taupe, stone, olive etc. which have no meaning to a person with colour blindness. The colour blind need to know if a shirt is pink or grey, dark blue/dark green or black, red/brown or green because they often have no way to differentiate between these colours without help.

Normal VisionDeuteranopiaProtanopiaTritanopia

Colour blind people need advice from friends or family to help them to choose ‘safe’ combinations of clothes which they can then stick to. The wife of former Foreign Secretary Lord (William) Hague is reported to pin labels to his clothes for this reason whenever he travels without her .

A colour blind person may be not able to appreciate changes in skin colour due to blushing, sunburn/rashes or pallor and these issues are important in relationships. To colour blind people the normal pinkish complexion of a person in normal light will appear slightly murky green.

Partners of the colour blind – beware!

I recently took my children to the local leisure centre for my older child’s swimming lesson and went to the cafe with my 7 year old colour blind son to get a snack whilst we were waiting for the lesson to finish. My son ordered what he wanted and waited patiently by my side whilst the girl behind the counter made my cappuccino. My son was watching the girl intently but didn’t say a thing until we walked away, then asked in all seriousness ‘Mummy, why does that lady have a green face?’ At first I had no idea what he meant but since I now know about the effects of colour blindness I was able to look at the girl through ‘colour blind’ eyes. She was in her early twenties and was wearing quite a thick layer of foundation that day. Under the lights of the cafe area I could understand that to my son her face would appear much darker than it would if she hadn’t been wearing so much foundation – so to him she really did seem to have a green face. KA-W

All partners of the colour blind should beware when they are trying to dress to impress – you might look stunning to everyone with normal colour vision but perhaps not to the one who matters to you most!

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