Doctors usually wear their white coats; a coat that is worn for easy recognition by colleagues and patients. But as soon as they get into the operating room, they change to their blue or green scrubs. Is there a reason that those scrubs are either blue or green? I mean, why not red or orange?
Well, it seems that there is.
Scrubs worn by doctors during a surgery, used to be white, just like the white coats. According to a 1998 issue of Today’s Surgical Nurse, this was the case up until the beginning of the 20th century when an influential doctor replaced white with green because he thought it would be easier on a surgeon’s eyes. Since green is the opposite of red on the color wheel, it should have helped doctors see better in the operating room. (the article continues after the ad)
And indeed, this contrast against red created the green and scrubs we know today. When in the operating room and looking at an opposite color of red, doctors could see better by refreshing their vision. This is because, if a surgeon were to stare at hue of red color, he would immediately become desensitized to it. The red signal in the brain would have actually faded, making it harder for doctors to see the nuances of the human body. But, by looking at an opposite color, such as green or blue, the doctor’s eyes are kept more sensitive to variations of red.
Even though this ‘trend’ started by a single doctor, the benefits were soon recognised by the entire medical community and this is the reason why almost every doctor today wears a green/blue scrub.