General Question

PublicBlog's avatar

How is it possible that we're able to view light through our eyelids, being awake compared to asleep?

Asked by PublicBlog (295 points ) February 24th, 2009

I myself found it hard to come up with the details in order to explain this question. If you closed you eyes in a lighted room, you’d be able to “feel” the glow of the light source, correct? Your pupil is still able to see and sense the rays passing through the skin.

Why do you see complete darkness when you’re asleep? By that I mean waking up to nothing until your eyes had adjusted to the brightness. Unconsciously you see a blank wall of black before you wake up. Why do we see black?

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4 Answers

dynamicduo's avatar

Perhaps it is because when you close your eyelids but still attempt to “see” (by that I mean look around with your eyeballs) your pupil is still facing forward and thus the light penetrates through the thinness of the eyelid or any gaps left. But when we sleep, I believe our eyes roll back or sideways or someway such that the pupil is not actively pointing to the front, thus it does not take in any light. Also, at nighttime there is less ambient light anyways. These are just my non-ophthalmologist thoughts :)

Harp's avatar

Normally, when we’re asleep, the brain disrupts the connections between the sensory processing areas and the areas that control our conscious experience. Only strong sensations can override that block and reach awareness.

It’s not so much that we “see black” as that we don’t see with the eyes at all. Any visual sensations are generated by the brain itself.

The_Inquisitor's avatar

I agree with dynamicduo, once i was almost falling asleep, but then suddenly woke up, i felt my eyes roll from behind to in front. Strange. haha. very hard for me to explain, but with that i inferred that when we sleep, our eyes roll to the back/side

anartist's avatar

Because they’re translucent?

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