Hypnagogic imagery while wide awake with my eyes open

I’ve already posted my question on another site’s forum, but I would like to ask it here as well. So I’m basically copying my other post, along with one reply, word for word and putting it here. I hope that’s OK.

    I apologize if this is the wrong place for this thread, but I didn't really see anywhere else that it would fit in any better.
    Anyhow, I just wanted to ask about hypnagogic imagery, and if it is possible to "see" these images with your eyes open. Recently, I've discovered that if I stare at one spot for more than a few seconds that I get this weird tunnel vision type sensation, accompanied by all sorts of multicolored imagery. It starts out mostly in the area of my peripheral vision, but it soon encompasses my entire field of view. Also, when it first "kicks in" the ambient light suddenly takes on a completely different, almost amber hue, like someone has flipped a switch to darken the room just a bit (happens outside in the sun also.)
    Once I move my eyes, and stop staring at the same spot, most of the imagery fades, but there is this lingering "field" for lack of a better word that covers everything I look at. It's multicolored, mostly transparent, and looks a bit like the noise you would see on a television screen when there's not a channel tuned in. This "field" can stay in view for hours sometimes. It doesn't really block my view or anything, but it can be a little distracting in that it makes people, and other objects look a bit like they are glowing in the dark, even though it's not dark.
    I know all this sounds a little bit crazy, and maybe I just need to get my eyes checked. But you guys showed up in a Google search, and I've never posted to a forum such as this one, so I thought I would give it a try. Hopefully someone can shed some light on this.

    Thanks in advance. 

Reply from gab:

    Not sure what would cause you to see that.

    The hallucinations we see when WILDing - initiating a lucid dream, happen when we are falling asleep. Those are beginning of a dream forming.

    I'm sorry, I can't help you better. I hope someone else may know something about this. Happy dreams 

And my response:

Today 01:13 AM #3
    After reading up on it today, that's pretty much how I learned the term 'hypnagogic'. I know that term is meant to describe the images that some people see as they fall asleep, but when I googled my "symptoms", I kept getting hits for sites that were talking about the hypnagogic state. Now, unless I have some undiagnosed narcolepsy or something, I'm pretty sure I'm not falling asleep when I'm seeing these things, but I guess anything is possible. I really don't know how else to describe it, other than to say it's just weird. Most of the images look sort of like holograms or something, but occasionally I'll get a brief moment where I can clearly see something that looks real. Usually it's either a large tree, or a structure that kind of resembles a Roman aqueduct. These Images usually pass on by sort of like a slide show on a computer, but they sure do stick in my head like a bad memory or something.

    In any case, I'm going to ask around on a couple of other sites I found today, and see if anyone there has ever heard of this.

    Thanks again.

One more thing.
I should probably also mention that I see the HI, as most of you seem to call it, every single night as I lie in bed. Every night. Without fail. Only, I didn’t realize what it was, and that it could be more than just random images produced by the subconscious. (Although it seems like the majority of what I see are people, places and things that I’ve never seen before.) And a lot of what I see at night could be better described as short movie clips rather than still images. And occasionally, the images can be “interactive”, for lack of a better word. For example, a couple of nights ago, I watched a middle aged gentleman working in some sort of wood shop. He was standing in front of a work table, facing toward me, but was looking down at his work. I watched him for several seconds before he suddenly jerked his head up, stared right at me and yelled something to me in a language that I didn’t recognize. I still don’t know what he said to me, but I could tell by the way he was looking at me that he wasn’t happy that I was there watching him.
Again, I know all this stuff sounds like the ramblings of a crazy person. But the only person that I have ever told about any of this stuff is convinced that these occurrences are spiritual in nature. I guess I would just like to know if anyone else experiences this sort of thing, and what I should do about it.


Is it light or dark in the room when this happens? This happens to me too in the dark, or even if i stare at a bland, single coloured surface for some time. I think it is called phosphenes. For me it is usually blue, and looks like a plasma fractal. Maybe it is background noise from the eyes or the nervous system.

When my eyes are open, the more light there is, the more pronounced the effect. Especially when the tunnel vision starts. Once that happens, it’s like when a cloud suddenly goes in front of the sun, and makes everything darker, except the light also takes on a brownish amber hue. If I’m in a dark room with very little light, the imagery is still there but is more transparent but also seems more colorful. Also, the amber color isn’t as obvious in a darker room as it is when I’m out in the sun. It’s really hard for me explain this and have it make sense. Hopefully you can make heads or tails of what I’m trying to describe.

Well, there might be a simple explanation. The receptor cells in your eyes can get fatigued with staring—and less able to process stimuli.

Seeing a blobs of color behind closed eyelids is common and is scientifically known as a phosphene:

They can be produced simply by blinking or moving the eyes and we notice them much more when we’re in complete darkness.

Also, there’s a class of colorful, geometric imagery that’s known to be produced through the interface of the body/brain and the visual-sensory system. It’s like a visual echo.

I’ve experienced this too: the tunneling and darkness that comes through intense staring or concentration. Not so much now, but as a kid I used to stare into the darkness as I fell asleep, watching colorful geometry unfold and spin with my eyes open. Sometimes, with my eyes open, the geometric static would develop into transparent mandala-like imagery of dragons, landscapes, etc. In particular, I remember once sitting in church and rubbing my eyeballs, purposely producing phosphenes, until I dropped into a sleepy state in which I saw “myself” (as a point of consciousness) flying through a solar system.

You’re not a crazy person. Hypnogogic imagery is common. Most people just ignore it instead of seeking it out.

And, by the way, I too have seen scenes (though with my eyes closed) in which the people seemed to be looking back at me, aware that I was watching them.

Thanks for that reply. That sounds like a very likely explanation for what’s been happening.
And for the record, the vast majority of the ‘real’ stuff that I see is at night, and with my eyes closed. I definitely see all the phosphene related stuff that you mentioned. All the shapes, symbols, faces etc. that look sort of like holograms. But there comes a point, if I don’t fall asleep completely, that I start seeing things live, in living color. It usually happens just right as I am about to fall asleep. It feels like someone is shining a spotlight in my eyes while they are closed, which usually wakes me up enough to know that I’m about to start seeing stuff.
Oddly enough, the huge bright round spot from the “spot light” shining in my eyes, then turns into a window of some sort. Almost like a port hole on the side of a ship. Most of the really vivid stuff that I experience, (the things that look like I’m watching them on T.V.) is while I’m looking through the “port hole”. And those scenes are almost always of normal people in normal places, just going about their business. Occasionally I get scenes that have nothing but silhouettes of people walking around, which is a little creepy. And for whatever reason, the silhouette people always seem to have a really loud sound that accompanies them. Sounds sort of like a train going by or something.
Thanks again for taking the time to post that explanation about the phosphenes. I really appreciate it.

don’t worry about it it happens to me all the time if i stare at the same place for a long time but mainly when i’m in bed sleeping i usually see it in black and white and when this happens i don’t dare to look at a painting or figurine because it always makes them turn and look at me or do some freaky movement and if i’m not looking at something like that a picture starts to form and it is usually like a hand coming around the corner or some thing, so don’t worry it’s your mind trying to stay active or not be bored(that’s what a hallucination is) so just relax and tell the image to piss off if you don’t like it.


If you find more answers please share them with me - macewan@gmail.com - as you are the only other person to PERFECTLY describe what I am experiencing.