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    #Dressgate redux

    Power of Internet allows humanity’s collective wisdom to solve important problems

     

    By Peter J. McDonnell, MD

     

    “Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?”

    —Chico Marx in Duck Soup (movie)

    As everyone knows, teenage girls have the knack of identifying the important new trends that come to define our culture: boy bands, Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, and reality television. For this reason, I became instantly alert when Dean, a talented ophthalmologist and loyal Ophthalmology Times reader, contacted me one evening about what was shortly to become the latest Internet sensation.

    “My teenage girls have been Twittering and texting all evening, and the subject is the photo of the dress. It seems some perceive the dress to be gold and white, while others see it as black and blue. As an ophthalmologist, I am expected to explain the phenomenon.”

    Blog: The power of what we do

    Sure enough, within 24 hours the image of the dress was plastered on the Internet and the varying color scheme was the preferred topic of scientific discussion and debate by the traditional moderators of scientific discourse in our country (morning drive-time radio hosts).

    No less an authority than the prominent neuro-ophthalmologist from my own institution, Neil Miller, MD, shared his perspective on the situation. His Twitter-post quickly received 17,000 views and 119 retweets:

    “It has to do with the individual’s color perception. Presumably, the cones—the photoreceptors in the retina—that see the primary colors (red, blue, and green) either are functioning differently in different individuals or the information that gets to the area of the brain that interprets color (V4) is interpreted differently by different individuals.”

    NEXT: Who's right?

    Peter J. McDonnell, MD
    He is director of The Wilmer Eye Institute, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, and chief medical editor of ...

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