Understanding Temporary Blindness from Color-Changing Walls

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In summary: So, if you dip your hand into the hot water, you'll notice that it feels hot, but if you dip it into the cold water, it'll feel cold.In summary, Moridin is suggesting that you try the hot and cold water experiment to see if it works the same way for temperature as it does for photoreceptors.
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The other day i was looking at a big illuminated wall on the side of a casino. The light came from inside the wall and changed colors in many different ways. I noticed that when the wall was fully green and then faded to fully red, that i was blind for about 2 or 3 seconds.

Why would that happen?
 
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Well, try dipping a hand in hot water and the other in cold water. Now switch. Look at a picture of a streetlight and then look at a white paper. Notice anything different?
 
  • #3
I should notice that the light wasnt very bright, about the same as a tv.
 
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What Moridin is suggesting is that you consider a phenomenon often called "receptor fatigue" in textbooks, which is a bit of misnomer, as it's actually an adaptation response. When the photoreceptors in the eye are stimulated continuously by one wavelength, your brain starts to "ignore" the signals for that wavelength and only sees the other wavelengths in the visible spectrum. It sounds like somehow, the lights you were looking at were timed just appropriately to fatigue both the red and green responses before fully recovering from the first, so that you were briefly insensitive to most colors.

Try the example Moridin suggested...don't make assumptions of the results...try it for yourself and see what really happens. You can just draw some large dots on a piece of paper to create the effect without needing a picture of anything in particular. Draw a pattern of four dots...red, green, blue, yellow (or just red and blue for simplicity if all you have are ballpoint pens for drawing in color), stare at it for 20 - 30 seconds, then immediately shift your focus to a blank sheet of white paper.

The reason he suggests trying the hot and cold water experiment is that the concept is the same for temperature sensation as for photoreceptors, in that you'll experience adaptation (you may have already noticed this if you've spent a lot of time outside on a cold day, and then come inside to wash your hands...have you noticed that even just cold water from the tap feels very hot under those conditions?)
 

1. What causes temporary blindness from color-changing walls?

Temporary blindness from color-changing walls is caused by a phenomenon known as the Troxler effect. This occurs when our eyes become accustomed to a stationary or unchanging stimulus, causing it to fade into the background and become less visible. When the stimulus suddenly changes, it can take a few moments for our eyes to readjust and fully perceive the new colors, resulting in a temporary blindness.

2. Is temporary blindness from color-changing walls dangerous?

No, temporary blindness from color-changing walls is not considered dangerous. It is a natural response of our eyes and usually only lasts for a few seconds. However, it is important to exercise caution and avoid any potential hazards during these brief moments of reduced visibility.

3. Who is most susceptible to temporary blindness from color-changing walls?

Anyone can experience temporary blindness from color-changing walls, but those with preexisting eye conditions such as astigmatism or color vision deficiencies may be more susceptible. Additionally, individuals with a history of migraines or seizures may also be more prone to this type of visual disturbance.

4. How can temporary blindness from color-changing walls be prevented?

There is no guaranteed way to prevent temporary blindness from color-changing walls, but there are some steps that may help reduce the risk. These include limiting exposure to rapidly changing colors, taking breaks from looking at the walls, and avoiding sudden or jerky movements while surrounded by color-changing walls.

5. Can temporary blindness from color-changing walls cause permanent damage?

In most cases, temporary blindness from color-changing walls does not cause permanent damage. However, if an individual experiences prolonged or frequent episodes of temporary blindness, it is important to consult with an eye doctor to rule out any underlying issues that may be causing the symptoms.

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