THE DRESS!! By Dr. Mark German, Optometrist at Lakeshore Eye Care Professionals with offices in Mequon & Saukville, Wisconsin

By editor
March 9, 2015

Unless you have been living in total isolation without access to newspapers, internet, magazines or television you probably have heard about “the dress”. This is a photo of a dress that has been widely circulated but appears different to different people. The whole thing started with a photo posting of a mother-of-the bride’s dress by a young women living on the Scottish Hebredian island of Colonsay. From there it took off to become an internet sensation. Some say the dress appears to be blue with a black fringe, others totally disagree and insist it is a white dress with a gold fringe.

Why such a fuss over a dress? How could someone from a tiny island across the Atlantic trigger this media frenzy? It is because how we perceive “the dress” explains a lot about how color perception works and how the viewer and their surroundings influence perception.

For context, if there is a white background around the photo, the dress appears to be blue. If there is a black background around the photo, the dress is perceived as white.  There are also differences in color perception between the sexes. Men have 25% more neurons in the vision part of the brain which affects their color perception. The result is a slight shift in how they perceive colors compared to women. Green grass appears slightly yellow to men and very green to women. A color that appears orange to a woman, appears more red to a man.

“The dress” is a bit of fun and a nice distraction from some of the other news of the day!

Dr. Mark E. GermanDr. German is an optometrist offering comprehensive eye care for patients of all ages. He accepts most insurance plans. Along with his colleagues, Dr. Martha Jay, Lakeshore Eye Care Professionals offers medical and surgical eye care including blade-free LASIK, small incision cataract surgery, glaucoma care, macular degeneration management, dry eye options, contact lens fitting and general eye examinations.

For more eye care information, call 262-241-1919 or visit

Dr. Mark German's Blogs, General Eye Care, Medical and Surgical Eye Care, Our Doctor's Blogs


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