P for Phosphenes #AtoZChallenge

Phosphenes (singular-phosphene)

Meaning: a phenomenon characterized by the experience of seeing light without light actually entering the eye.

Etymology: Greek words phos (light) and phainein (to show)

Pronunciation: fos-feens

Usage in a sentence: “She squeezed her eyes shut, and enjoyed the show of phosphenes.”

phosphenes

 

Do this exercise right now. Don’t worry, it won’t hamper your blog-hopping abilities.
Shut your eyes. Press your fingers over your eyelids or rub your closed eyes.
Do you see any of the following patterns when you do this exercise?

 

Source: http://www.oubliette.org.uk/Three.html

 

What you’ve just done is the same thing that the ancient Greeks did and knew about. This colour filled image is called a phosphene. The creation of a phosphene has no magical explanation. It has been studied by Isaac Newton too! Here’s the theory (from Wikipedia):

The pressure mechanically stimulates the cells of the retina. Experiences include a darkening of the visual field that moves against the rubbing, a diffuse colored patch that also moves against the rubbing, a scintillating and ever-changing and deforming light grid with occasional dark spots (like a crumpling fly-spotted flyscreen), and a sparse field of intense blue points of light. Pressure phosphenes can persist briefly after the rubbing stops and the eyes are opened, allowing the phosphenes to be seen on the visual scene.

It truly is a weird phenomenon, isn’t it? Apart from pressure simulation, phosphenes are caused due to electric simulation of the brain, by changing magnetic fields and hallucinogenic drugs. It is also caused by diseases of the retina and multiple sclerosis. Don’t try rubbing your eyes too often, or you’ll end up with a splitting headache (the headache I’m bearing right now for rubbing my eyes too much, trying to figure out if the designs change everytime :P)

Describe your phosphene in the comments section. Share this post if this is the first time you’ve experienced this phenomenon 🙂

~Word-scavenger

 

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41 Comments Add yours

  1. My Era says:

    I have been doing that little exercise ever since I was a little girl and have been pretty amazed by what I used to see. Thank you for giving those childhood pleasures and visuals a name 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Imagine the joy I felt when I found this word! 😀
      Welcome ❤

      Like

  2. I still see them! Coded messages from old imaginary friends 🙂

    Sir Leprechaunrabbit
    @leprchaunrabbit
    https://yourrootsareshowingdearie.wordpress.com/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. fabulus1710 says:

      Eh? You see codes even in these cute images? :O

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pretty cool post you got here Mithila!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. mpbyte says:

    Reblogged this on mpreviewsblog and commented:
    That was an novel exercise.

    Like

    1. fabulus1710 says:

      Thank you so much! 🙂

      Like

  5. It has a name! Of course, it does and who better to enlighten us than our fabulus Mithila? 🙂
    I see the makings of a book, I truly do. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. fabulus1710 says:

      Hahahaha! I see you’ve learnt the correct spelling of fabulus 😉
      Let me finish the working on first. Then maybe 😀
      P.S.: I have already been a co-editor of the Classmate Spelling Bee- Spelling Guide 😉

      Like

  6. richajindal says:

    Haven’t tried will try n share d result.
    @2richajindal

    http://jindalpackers.com/blog/process/
    http://richajindal.com/right-food/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. fabulus1710 says:

      Thank you for stopping by 🙂

      Like

  7. so that light has a name! enjoying learning so many new words!

    Shubhangi @ The Little Princess

    Liked by 1 person

    1. fabulus1710 says:

      Glad you did! Thank you 🙂

      Like

  8. Rajlakshmi says:

    I saw all sorts of dotty shapes. Didn’t realise it had a name. Interesting post.

    A Whimsical Medley
    Twinkle Eyed Traveller

    Liked by 1 person

    1. fabulus1710 says:

      It gets better with practice 😀
      Thank you Raj! 🙂

      Like

  9. slfinnell says:

    Ha! You just reminded me that I used to do this when a little girl at church. It was hard for me sometimes to be quiet. People probably thought I had a nervous tic. Great to find your blog!

    Stephanie Finnell
    @randallbychance from
    Katy Trail Creations
    Stephanies Stuff

    Liked by 1 person

    1. fabulus1710 says:

      It’s the perfect way to keep yourself entertained, when there’s no mobile phone around 😀
      Thank you for stopping by, Stephanie 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Oh my god i didn’t know there was a word for this phenomena..!!! Thanks for enlightening us all.
    @sneha_sasi from
    Life As a Potpourri

    Liked by 1 person

    1. fabulus1710 says:

      You are welcome, Sneha 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Hey Mithila, wow, I have been seeing little dots with tails when I close my eyes and colours since childhood and now I know their name 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. fabulus1710 says:

      Little dots with tails? Could they be comets? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Kalpanaa says:

    I saw an eye! Love that it has a name! Thanks for this information.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. fabulus1710 says:

      You saw an eye as a phosphene! That’s incredible 🙂

      Like

  13. kalaravi16 says:

    I learn something new and exciting every time I am here! I see a lot of red and dark blue colored patterns! And Blue is Fabulus!!
    @KalaRavi16 from
    Relax-N-Rave

    Liked by 1 person

    1. fabulus1710 says:

      I do my best to give eager readers like you a reason to visit my blog everytime! 🙂
      Yes, blue is absolutely fabulus 😀
      Thank you Kala ❤

      Like

  14. Shilpa Garg says:

    That’s interesting. I saw the light but no patterns. May be they would come if I do it for a longer period of time!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. fabulus1710 says:

      You need to apply a lot of pressure on the eyes. And it wouldn’t really work if you’re seated in front of a light source e.g. laptop, computer. You’ll only see red or any other colour light!
      Do try it out again and see 🙂

      Like

  15. Dahlia says:

    Oh I know this! Err I mean sure I have heard of it…scratching head…

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Wow Mithila! I learn something new each day from your blog. And lovely post. The pattern that I saw was spirals. May be too many thoughts running in my head 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. fabulus1710 says:

      You should convert those thoughts into many many blog posts. And then the statistics on your blog will make you see upward spirals everyday! #YouGoGirl ❤
      Thank you Reema for your encouragement! 🙂

      Like

  17. Phosphene! I see almost all those images without any light when I have a migraine. Damn!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. fabulus1710 says:

      Woah! That’s really scary! Do take care when you get migraines. I would suggest you don’t try checking out these phosphenes. What if they turn out to be triggers or something? *hides face* 😦

      Like

  18. inquisitivegeet says:

    I used to wonder was this just with me or anyone else? Looks like it happens with everyone. Sometimes when I move my fingers too much and roll them over my eyes, I see the entire universe right in my eyes 😛 Looks like now I know why and I’m not the only one!

    Cheers
    Geets

    Liked by 1 person

    1. fabulus1710 says:

      The stars look so brilliant! And the joke is, we can’t even see that many stars in the night sky! 🙂
      I used to see these constellations when I was younger. I really want to see them again! 🙂

      Like

  19. 2 AM Writer says:

    Hehehe. It ws a fun activity 🙂 i like how engaging the content is getting day by day 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. fabulus1710 says:

      Fabulus and fun are alliterating words. And hence, I strive to keep my posts as light-hearted as possible! 🙂
      Thank you so much dear ❤

      Like

  20. Jayanthi says:

    I see bluish white patterns . In childhood i used ot see figures and patters floating around and would wonder if this was normal. Did not know that there would be a word to express this …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. fabulus1710 says:

      It’s perfectly normal, Jayanthi!
      I’m glad you enjoyed reading this post 🙂

      Like

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