I stumbled onto a news item online that had a special, and unfortunate, personal resonance. More...

I stumbled onto a news item online that had a special, and unfortunate, personal resonance.

It was from Measurementdevices.com, a website that appears to be a clearinghouse for news and product information about laboratory testing devices, especially those used on consumer packaged goods. The article reported the findings of a Dutch market research firm about which colors are most appealing to consumers with bad eyesight.

I was especially interested in this because I have recently experienced a sudden, and scary, deterioration in my own vision. It’s gotten better (I can now read-barely-out of my right eye again), but like many people, I’ve reached a new appreciation of a health issue now that I’m undergoing it personally.

The article basically said that nearsighted people like blue, while farsighted people like red. The reasons have to do with how a color’s light wavelength determines what part of the eye it reaches. I suppose the science is sound enough (you can read the article and judge for yourself), though for what it’s worth, I always preferred blue, even when my vision was perfect.

How this finding could be practically applied is less clear. Perhaps packagers of foods and beverages marketed to older consumers could hedge their bets with a red-and-blue color scheme. Or put out half their packages in red, half in blue. Or maybe do some market research on whether more of their potential customers are far- or nearsighted.

My personal experience tells me that larger type, especially for the ingredients listing and Nutrition Facts panel, is welcome when your vision fails-more welcome than the most cleverly designed ocular-related color scheme in the world.

-Pan Demetrakakes, editor