Victoria Woollaston, MailOnline

Andrew Lotery, Professor of Ophthalmology in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Southampton, told MailOnline that the difference in perception could be due to lighting conditions, the device the image is being viewed on and even a person’s age and gender.

He stated that every person is born with a different combination of genes which create colour senses for blue, red and green. Women tend to be more diverse because they are genetically linked on the X-chromosome.

Women are more open to a wider range of colours and may therefore be more sensitive or susceptible to certain colors. This may explain why women flip between seeing the different colours, and men typically don’t.

This two-toned frock sparked a fierce online debate, with users taking to social media to argue over what colors they could see

The two-toned dress sparked fierce debate online. Users took to social media to dispute the best colors.

He added that some people have more than one ‘dose’ of a blue colour gene, as an example, so they will see higher or lower levels of this colour, too.

People also perceive colour differently as they age.

Professor Lotery continued, “The eye’s lens gradually becomes yellowed with age. This exposes more of the blue.”

These factors will impact how dark or strong a particular colour looks. It could also explain why people older than 50 may prefer to see blacks and blues over whites, golds, and vice versa.

He used the example of Rembrandt and Monet, who painted scenes that featured a predominant one-colour palette when younger but that later on had the same scene painted in more red.

Elsewhere, Professor Lotery said: ‘The occipital lobe is responsible for actually processing the vision and there may be an element of optical illusion to [the photo of the dress].’

Contrasting images and colors are a common way to create contrasts in work. This could be the reason for the variations seen on the gown.

‘It’s quite a striking contrast between the black and the blue’ continued Professor Lotery.

‘For example, it could be that if the lighting conditions slightly changed, the person viewing the image is getting more stimulus on the blue photo receptor, for example, than the red.

‘On the balance of stimulating one a subtle change in angle could make it flip. The monitor’s location, the lighting and the size of the room are all important.

Plus, if your brain is focusing specifically on the differences your vision may be on the cusp of colour recognition and this could cause the differences.’

Others, like the development of cataracts that alter the color vision, could also play a part.