When you look directly into a bright light, why does that “image” stay in your eyes after you look away or close them?

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Nothing too deep I’m just standing in line and accidentally looked into a bright ass light and it took a sec before I gained clear vision again

In: 9

Photobleaching.
The back of your eye has cells full of light sensitive pigments. Light enters the eye, goes through lenses to focus it on the back, and then hits these cells. The light changes the pigments into slightly different forms which is then interpreted by the cells. This pigment needs to be replenished and bright lights can overuse the pigment before it can be replenished.

In very few words, your eyes use chemicals to interpret light, and bright light uses all of them up so you get the after image of the light until it makes more.