Closed-Eye Hallucinations; We Never Stop Learning

All my life, I’ve seen random pixels and patters when my eyes were closed. Of course, there are floaters and residual images from bright items I see just before closing my eyes. Those don’t count.

I’m in my 60s now, and only yesterday did I discover that not everybody is like me. As a matter of fact, there’s even a term for my “condition:” Closed-Eye Hallucinations. From Healthline:

Closed-eye hallucinations are patterns, shapes, and colors you may witness when you shut your eyes. In most cases, these are harmless and aren’t a cause for concern. Some cases are related to medical conditions that require treatment.

The Wikipedia article seems to have been written by a drug-user with a more positive approach:

Closed-eye hallucinations and closed-eye visualizations (CEV) are hallucinations that occur when one’s eyes are closed or when one is in a darkened room. They can be a form of phosphene. Some people report CEV under the influence of psychedelics; these are reportedly of a different nature than the “open-eye” hallucinations of the same compounds. Similar hallucinations that occur due to loss of vision are called visual release hallucinations.

Personally, I’ve never found it to be an issue; it’s just something I experience when my eyes are closed. As a kid, I’d try to find meaning in the patterns. I’d imagine them to be cells – and apparently, some of them are cells. I assumed that everybody has these visions.

Yesterday, I was with a group of friends, and I asked them to do a simple experiment: Can you still see the patterns if you keep one eye open and one eye closed? Can you train yourself to see them even when the other eye is bombarded with real-life scenes?

One fellow told me he could. He had just had cataract surgery on the eye he was closing. The Healthline article points out that:

Other closed-eye hallucinations have also been reported in some people after they have surgery.

I found it remarkable that he could still see the patterns even with one eye open. My other friends reported seeing absolutely nothing when their eyes were closed. I found this even more remarkable.

My initial suspicion was that a) everybody has these “hallucinations,” and b) people who can train themselves to see them, even with one eye open, have special mental capabilities.

I’m still trying to figure out what proportion of the population has Closed Eye Hallucinations, and what percentage of that group can see them with one eye open. Are there any correlations with political ideology, religions background or ethnicity?

What do you think?

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