Why Do Surgeons Wear Green or Blue Overalls?

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Have you ever wondered why doctors wear either green or blue overalls in the operating room but never white ones? It turns out that this seemingly insignificant practice can determine the success of a surgical operation.


Initially, all medical staff wore white clothing, until one day in 1914 an influential doctor gave up this traditional uniform in favor of a green, and subsequently blue, one. The problem is that an immaculate white color can blind surgeons for several moments if they shift their gaze from the dark color of blood to the overalls of their colleagues. The same effect occurs when you first go outside in winter and see the sunlight reflected off snow.

But this still doesn’t answer the question of why a surgeon’s clothing is blue or green rather than, say, purple or yellow? The fact is that green and blue are the opposite of red on the spectrum of visual light, and during an operation a surgeon is nearly always focusing on red colors.

Green and blue are the opposite of red

Because of this, the green and blue colors of their clothes not only help to improve a surgeon’s visual acuity but also make them more sensitive to different shades of red. Consequently, it helps them pay greater attention to the nuances of human anatomy, which significantly reduces the likelihood that they’ll make a mistake during an operation.