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People are stunned after finally realising why they see swirling colours when their eyes are closed

Aisha Nozari

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People are stunned after finally realising why they see swirling colours when their eyes are closed

Our bodies work in weird and wonderful ways. Sometimes gross ways, too. Like that thing that happens down there after scoffing a particularly punchy jalfrezi.

Anyway, where were we? Ah, yes. Eyes. They’re definitely one of the coolest body parts, because of the whole letting us see thing.

They even work when our eyelids are shut tight. Most of us have seen swirling flashes of colour even though we’ve got our eyes closed, and the reason why has fascinated internet users.

Our bodies work in weird and wonderful ways. Credit: Geoff Smith / Alamy Stock Photo
Our bodies work in weird and wonderful ways. Credit: Geoff Smith / Alamy Stock Photo

Said flashing lights are called phosphenes. They’re basically a visual phenomenon that’s the result of the mechanical stimuli sparked by the pressure our eyes feel when our eyelids are closed.

According to the Wexner Medical Centre, our retinas generate phosphenes after such stimulation and convert them into electrical signals which are carried to our brains.

Learning about how this sort of visual information is interpreted by our brains in a Reddit post, people were quick to say they’d been left in awe.

One person wrote: “Wow,” while another person added: “Awesome!”

Other comments included: “I learn more on reddit than in college,” “Magic!” and “And here I thought I was a superhero.”

While we’re on the topic of eyeballs, earlier this year, scientists said a revolutionary bionic eye implant had allowed a blind woman to see in what was billed as a ‘groundbreaking’ new treatment.

French company Pixium Vision gave an 88-year-old woman an implant and she was able to detect signals in her blind eye.

As part of the treatment, the woman had a 2mm wide microchip implanted under her retina and wore special glasses with a camera connected to a computer around her waist.

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The chip captured the video from the glasses and transmitted it to the computer, which used AI algorithms to identify objects and guide the focus of the glasses.

The glasses then projected this view through the eye and into the microchip via an infra-red beam, with the chip converting that into electrical signals which were sent to the brain.

Thanks to the bionic implant, the woman could make out words through her blind eye, which occurred as a result of dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

“Losing the sight in my left eye through dry AMD has stopped me doing the things I love, like gardening and playing indoor bowls,” she said in January.

“I am thrilled to be the first to have this implant, excited at the prospect of enjoying my hobbies again and I truly hope many others will benefit from this.”

Featured Image Credit: agefotostock / Dimitris Kolyris / Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: Science

Aisha Nozari
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