Why do we see psychedelic geometry when we push on our eyes?


If you lightly push with your palms on your eyes for a minute, you start to see some wild visuals. Is this harmful?

In: 239

Holy crap! I legit thought I was the only one this happened to. As a kid I used.to push on my eyes all the time to see the funky shapes and colours which sort of just floated on by.

I remember everything just getting more orange after a certain point each time I did it.

As far as danger with this, I’m pretty sure it puts you at risk for retinal detachment, but I’m interested in knowing why the visuals happen as well.

Your eyes are seeing mostly nonsense, kind of akin to static on an old TV. When you push on your eyeball, you’re putting pressure on your optic nerve and exacerbating the nonsense data going to your brain.

Your brain, on the other hand, is doing its goddamn best to make sense of this nonsense data. I general, our brains are very good at this. But given the optical signals are “randomized” so to speak, the best your brain can do is connect bits and pieces of it into wacky abstract shapes and colors and whatnot.

These are called phosphenes and are the result of putting physical pressure on the eyes photo receptors. This causes them to misfire so to speak and the brain tries to make sense of the input. Yes, you can damage your eyes by doing this too often or too hard.

And why if you open your eyes and then close them and try it again immediately afterwards does it not happen again?