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Whether you’ve served in the military or not, chances are you’ve seen the green, black, and brown clothes soldiers use to camouflage themselves. But have you ever wondered how camouflage works?

Matching the surroundings

While the green and brown camouflage is the most commonly-recognized pattern, many camouflage designs exist to match different environments, including deserts, snow, and even cities.

Camouflage is usually a series of mottled colors in a random pattern. This design is used because it is visually disruptive. The lines hide the contours of the wearer’s body by helping connect it visually with the surrounding environment.

The reason this works is when you look at things, your brain likes to group them together into larger objects in order to maintain visual continuity. For example, a lot of small, green objects are perceived as one large item. However, a bunch of green and brown elements, such as the splotches in camouflage, are all perceived separately.

If someone were wearing one solid color, they would stand out among the foliage of a forest, for example. However, if they were wearing numerous colors, your brain would perceive them as part of the surrounding environment. The greens in camouflage would be perceived as part of the surrounding leaves, the brown as part of the branches, and so on. Once the person wearing camouflaged is recognized, though, they will stand out because your brain now perceives him or her as a single object.


Dazzle camouflage

In the early part of the twentieth century, militaries used “dazzle” camouflage to help protect their ships. Unlike traditional camouflage, dazzle camouflage wasn’t designed to make a ship blend into its surroundings. Quite the opposite, in fact. It was designed to make the ship very visible.

Dazzle camouflage involved painting ships with bold geometric shapes, like rectangles or triangles, in a jumbled pattern. While it drew the eye to the ship, the camouflage made it difficult to see the outlines and determine which way it was moving. However, dazzle camouflage only had mixed results at best, and it was soon abandoned in favor of the traditional gray ships are painted today.

See clearly

While camouflage may be designed to prevent you from seeing things, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still see as clearly as possible. Make an appointment for an eye exam with CEENTA. We’ll help make sure camouflage is the only thing disrupting your vision.

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your physician. CEENTA has eye doctors across North Carolina. To make an appointment, call 704-295-3000. You can also schedule an appointment online or through myCEENTAchart.


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