What causes a selective shift of colour perception after removing wavelength filtered glasses?

What causes a selective shift of colour perception after removing wavelength filtered glasses?

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To improve sleep by reducing blue-light melatonin disruption, I wear night-glasses that filter short wavelengths (e.g. something like these). With these glasses on, both the top and bottom bars of this test image will appear visually identical:

(Source: Personally derived from this public domain image and released to public domain)

But the colour spectrum you "see" while filtering the blue light will not appear to be either of these bars; instead some partially de-saturated hybrid of the two. I think this is probably due to a pervasive blue wavelength of the LCD back-light regardless of defined colour contrast.

However, there is something else odd going on. If I wear these glasses for several hours and then remove them for some reason - all the blue colours I should see will be muted, partially de-saturated or even interpreted as a shade of green for at least several minutes afterwards (I haven't stop-watched the effect). Freaky.


Why is this selective shift of colour perception occurring for a while after removing wavelength filtered glasses?

The short answer is you don't see light you see a reconstruction of your environment made by a learning organ, your brain adapts to changes in stimuli. Color in particular is tricky because there is no objective way for your brain to determine somethings color, it can only see the wavelength that reaches the eye which are affected by everything along the way including the color of your eye's tissues. Your brain adjusts to the filter, until it sees the colors it expects to see again. It does this by becoming less responsive to some signals, in the case of the glasses the colors in between certain ranges. when the glasses are removed the brain is still largely ignoring those signals and has to learn to accept them again in exactly the same way it learned to ignore them.

You can do something similar with glasses that flip the visual field, (turn everything upside down). The work was done by This is a good article. Follow the link for more information. George M. Stratton, and after wearing the glasses eventually you start seeing things right side up again, then when you remove the glasses everything is upside down again, the brain has to again relearn to see right side up.

Wearing colored glasses forces the eyes to work harder to see the normal colors the way they are supposed to be seen. In other words, when you wear, say, green glasses, the sort that overwhelmingly turn everything green, the eyes are trying harder to detect all the colors that are not green, and to desensitize themselves to green.

So when you take the glasses off, your eyes have become used to disregarding green in favor of everything else. Anything green will look a bit washed out, until your eyes adjust. The effect is less pronounced or non-existent with grey or grey-green glasses.

This has been my experience. The exact mechanisms by which it happens? Can't say, don't know.

Watch the video: Physiology Colour vision Dr Mohamed Fayez (May 2022).


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