• phosphene
  • audio pronunciation
  • \FAHSS-feen\
  • DEFINITION

noun

: a luminous impression due to excitation of the retina
  • EXAMPLES

"One way to see phosphenes is to close your eyes and rub them with your palms or fingers…." — From Andrew Neher's 1990 book Paranormal and Transcendental Experience

"At the event, visitors will draw blindfolded to allow the phosphenes (patterns) to emerge and will be encouraged to draw what they see using charcoal and ochre." — From an article in ENP Newswire, April 4, 2013

  • DID YOU KNOW?

Phosphenes are the luminous floating stars, zigzags, swirls, spirals, squiggles, and other shapes that you see when closing your eyes tight and pressing them with your fingers. Basically, these phenomena occur when the cells of the retina are stimulated by rubbing or after a forceful sneeze, cough, or blow to the head. The word "phosphene" comes from the Greek words "phōs" (light) and "phainein" (to show). "Phainein" is also a contributing element in such words as "diaphanous," "emphasis," "epiphany," and "phenomenon," among others.

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