I have encountered anecdotal evidence that sometimes when people meditate, as they progress to higher levels, they sometimes experience flashing white light behind the eyes. And I have also experienced this, in a different context.

Google is only showing me results related to ocular phenomena like glaucoma or something. I am interested in knowing if there is any recognition of a neural phenomenon, rather. I think I once heard someone say it has to do with dopamine.

The hypothesis would be for some reason as the brain decides to increase its dopamine production (if people doing concentration meditation are possibly training their brain to have higher levels of concentration ability, which may mean increasing the amount of dopamine production), somehow as it creates more neural structure to do that, white flashing behind the eyes is somehow a byproduct of a neural kind of “spurt” of energy, for a moment.

The white flashing can come in short bursts yet can be fast. People say it is behind the eyes, it is a close eyed phenomenon, not a hallucination, and not something that appears to be in your visual field, but is somehow more directly in your mind/brain.

Can anyone suggest any known documentation of such a phenomenon or a similar one - a visual phenomenon that is not some kind of ocular malady, not the general idea of a hallucination, but a byproduct of a very particular neural phenomenon of some kind?


1 Answer 1


By "behind the eyes" I assume you mean a flashing while the eyelid is closed.

As for academic explanations, the only one I could find regarding this phenomenon is a study by the religious and psychiatric and human behaviour institute at Brown University. (here) They claim that sensory deprivation is responsible for the white flash. They also posit that this could be responsible for the neuroplastic effects of meditation as the research they cite shows neuroplasticity increases during sensory deprivation (here). I'm not saying that these sources are true, but there is research out there.

(They also make several references to Charles Bonnet Syndrome in this paper, a neurologist would have to chime in to confirm if it would meet the criteria though.)

As for whether or not this is dangerous or a bad omen of a eye disorder, it seems very harmless. As far as I can tell, this is a regular occurance for meditators of all experience levels and the majority of those who experience this have healthy eyesight and neurological structure and biology.


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