September 12, 2021
Why we’re blind to the color blue
If you’re super nerdy and experienced with using Photoshop’s individual color channels to make enhancements or custom masks, you might have noticed that the blue channel has very little influence on the overall sharpness of an RGB image — it never occurred to me that this is inherently a function of our own human eyesight, which is unable to properly focus on blue light, in comparison to other wavelengths!
I like how the paper from the Journal of Optometry that this article links to straight up dunks on our questionably-designed eyeballs:
In conclusion, the optical system of the eye seems to combine smart design principles with outstanding flaws. […] The corneal ellipsoid shows a superb optical quality on axis, but in addition to astigmatism, it is misaligned, deformed and displaced with respect to the pupil. All these “flaws” do contribute to deteriorate the final optical quality of the cornea. Somehow, there could have been an opportunity (in the evolution) to have much better quality, but this was irreparably lost.
This also made me wonder if this blue-blurriness has anything to do with the theory that cultures around the world and through history tend to develop words for colors in a specific order, with words for “blue” appearing relatively late in a language’s development. Evidently that’s likely so, because hard-to-distinguish colors take longer to identify and classify, even for test subjects who have existing words for them!
Go check it out →