from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Plural form of phosphene.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • These test subjects all reported that they saw bright flashes of light called phosphenes when electrically stimulated.

    Analog Science Fiction and Fact 2004

  • Suzanne Carr's thesis exploring the evidence for cave art motifs deriving from universal 'phosphenes'.

    Places, history & myth Ray Girvan 2002

  • Suzanne Carr's thesis exploring the evidence for cave art motifs deriving from universal 'phosphenes'.

    Archive 2002-04-01 Ray Girvan 2002

  • I visualise with effort; I am peculiarly inapt to see "after-images," "phosphenes,"

    Inquiries into Human Faculty and Its Development Francis Galton 1866

  • And in the bloodlit dark behind his eyes, silver phosphenes boiling in from the edge of space, hypnagogic images jerking past like film compiled from random frames.

    Wonder Woman and the Lasso of Truth Boudreau Freret 2010

  • Artificial retinas, light-sensitive chips that mimic the eye's signal-processing ability and stimulate the optical nerve or visual cortex, have been tested in a handful of blind subjects, but most have been able to see nothing more than phosphenes, or bright spots.

    Science Cult 2009

  • Accidentally tripping the "copy" button before the flap was lowered, a strobe of white light burst into his unprepared eyes making his phosphenes dance in purple blooms and swirls.

    Steven Weber: For My Father 10/3/25 - 3/6/87 2009

  • Dobelle is working on refining and focusing the images created by his device, rather than increasing the number of phosphenes.

    Analog Science Fiction and Fact 2004

  • At this point, the presence of phosphenes is more important than their placement in the visual field.

    Analog Science Fiction and Fact 2004

  • Stated simply, as long as the same place on the visual cortex is stimulated, the flashes of light (phosphenes) always appear in the same place in the visual field.

    Analog Science Fiction and Fact 2004


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  • Those sparkly lights you see when you close your eyes tightly. (They're actually caused by pressure on the eyeball, which stimulates the retina.)

    February 23, 2007

  • There's a name for that? Even more importantly, I'm not the only one who sees them?! All these years I thought I had laser vision and could see into the nth dimension, and it's just phosphenes. Phooey.

    February 23, 2007

  • No, no, everyone does. Especially when someone's jumping on your eyeballs. Try it.

    February 23, 2007

  • If you continually apply pressure to your eyes, the phosphenes change and become more complex. My pressure phosphenes start out with a grid of black and white op art squares scattered with sparkling starlike flecks of red, electric blue and green. This kind of hurts so I don't recommend doing it.

    January 25, 2008

  • I'd also highly recommend not squashing your eyeballs like that, op art or no.

    January 25, 2008

  • There is a strong physiological and biochemical rationale for paying close attention to reesetee's warning. Many physiological effects are controlled at the biochemical level by a so-called phosphorylation switch, wherein phosphorus is added or deleted from a key catalyst in the chain of reactions leading to the effect.

    Phosphene is just such a catalyst, which, if stressed beyond its natural stability envelope, (as might result from undue pressure on the eyeballs, for instance) is wont to undergo sudden dephosphorylation at the second phosphorus locus. This can prove fatal.

    Since nature abhors a vacuum, the empty position is immediately filled by locally available nucleotides, primarily cytosine or guanine. Substitution of a cytosine in the second phosphorus location leads to the formation of the harmless compound PhosCene; however, guanine substitution causes formation of the highly toxic gas PhosGene, infamous since its use as a deadly nerve gas in the trenches of World War I.

    Cases have been documented of children who, after squeezing on their eyeballs too hard, died from inhalation of the resulting phosgene gas that came out their eyeballs.

    Just thought you might want to know.

    January 25, 2008

  • Wait. People intentionally squeeze their eyeballs? I can't even stand the thought of touching them. I don't wear contacts because I'm afraid that they'll migrate around to the back, sever my optic nerves, and my eyeballs will fall out.

    It happens, doesn't it?

    January 25, 2008

  • This is the result of an extremely curious and observant nature as a child...not something I do for kicks as an adult. I just remember that the progression of the phosphenes was usually the same, starting out with the op art images. I do, however, wonder to this day if other people see the same things.

    January 25, 2008

  • Love those linguimalar comments, sionnach!

    January 25, 2008

  • linguimalar, eh? Is that like fissilingual?

    I am shocked, shocked, shocked, I tell you, to think that anyone might believe for an instant that I was guilty of contributing madeupical facts or scientifically implausible theories to Wordie.


    Remember, just because you may not be able to find documented cases of children perishing from phosgene poisoning subsequent to eyeball-squeezing doesn't mean it couldn't happen.

    January 25, 2008

  • Sionnach, has uselessness been talking to you on the sly? Have you also joined the cult of ninja madeupical etymologists and/or piratical madeupical etymologists?

    In any event, I'd like to distance myself from these madeupical comments (I favor my own madeupical comments, of course).

    Treeseed, we're just joking. You want to squash your eyeballs, you go right ahead. :-) Skipvia, I was once eyeball squeamish too, but now I'm a happy contact lens wearer. Try the soft ones--they won't sever your optic nerve. (And if they did, think of the neat eyeball tricks you could do!)

    January 25, 2008

  • Thanks, but I'll pass on any further eyeball squashing. Once I tried LSD it kind of spoiled phosphenes for me.

    January 25, 2008

  • I just love that my villainous ways are slowly taking over Wordie like a virus. A really, really awesome virus.

    January 26, 2008

  • Heehee.

    January 26, 2008