It might be exactly what happens when one takes psychedelics like magic mushrooms. The existing idea that substances such as ergine, mescaline, and psilocybin mushrooms might be having an inner meaning is what we thought. People will usually describe these drugs’ effects in words like “dream-like experiences,” “distortion of reality,” and hallucination. It hints at the observation of what is not in our sober minds or lacks in people’s sober world.

Hallucination is not the only word that can be used to describe the effects of psychedelic and entoptic vision. People perceive hallucination as entoptic vision or phosphenes, which are linked to a perception of ‘concrete’ objects like blood vessels and cells in the eyes. For eyes can observe what is happening within the eyes. Some cells and nerves might be detected in our brains before the conversion of light to neural signals. The brain can sieve what is relevant in our daily lives. However, this is not the case every time. When we use substances that bring over excitement to some of the cells, the phosphene phenome’s entopic phenome might occur. The phosphene or entoptic phenome occurrence will lead to revealing the inner mechanism that exists in the eyes.


Fluorescence Photography vs. Phosphenes and Entoptic Vision

According to research done in the 60s and 90s, it is evident that what people see during the entoptic and phosphene visions can be observed in photography using fluorescence. Despite these similarities, the resolution of entopic images is higher compared to fluorescence photography.


History of Entoptic and Phosphenes

Many shamans have used entoptic vision and phosphenes across the world in treating tropical infections. According to Cesar Herrera, the causal agent of some tropical diseases can be found in blood vessels located in individual eyes. Some of these tropical infections are Plasmodium spp, Leishmania spp, toxoplasma spp, and trypanosome spp. Shamans have noted that it is possible to detect these agents using entoptic vision and phosphenes phenomena. As they say, practice makes perfect. Shamans have been able to perfect in diagnosing and preventing these infections using plants and other materials available to them.

Understanding these phenomena started in the early 18th century. The description of these phenomena began to decrease after the adoption of new technologies.  The decrease due to technologies like the advent of the microscope has reduced this interest to the point that it does not draw any interest in modern science.


What can be Learned from Entoptic and Phosphenes?

Entoptic and phosphenes knowledge is still being developed in communities where shamans practice is common. Their understanding of these two phenomena is so immense that western knowledge has a lot to learn from. Shamans have a different approach compared to western researchers. While the westerners have been focusing on the function of light in triggering entoptic and phosphenes vision, shamans have been more focused on gathering information on the roles of substances in triggering these phenomena. Shamans have the ability to give more details of what lies in the eyes by combining chemicals and light and other different forms of stimulation.


What are Entoptic and Phosphenes Visions?

These two phenomena have something related to light in the eyes. While one has something to do with the absorption of light, the other is related to light emission. Entoptic vision will occur when light entering an individual’s eyes produces a shadow. On the other hand, phosphenes occur when cells located within an individual’s eyes emit light.


Explanation of Entoptic Vision

An entoptic vision will occur when light entering an individual’s eyes is prevented by cells and other bodies located between the retina and the cornea.  A shadow is usually formed when cells and nerves block protons that are entering in person’s eyes. The brain will detect this shadow as entoptic vision. 


Explanation of Phosphenes

Almost every person has at some point experienced phosphenes even without the use of psychedelics. Phosphenes can occur due to either applying some pressure in the eyes or tripping. In laboratory conditions, this phenomenon can also occur due to magnetic and electrical stimulation. These phenomena are still on the debate, but the main reason behind them will be the cells located within an individual’s eyes.


Tripping and the Inner Light

Tripping is caused by the overstimulation of cells that are within the eyes.  The use of the substance will lead to the eyes emitting extra light than experienced normally. It increases the chances of an individual spotting a phosphene. Induction of phosphene will increase the likelihood of entoptic vision. In conclusion, tripping occurs as a result of the innermost of our body and psyche. When an individual enters a psychedelic experience, it will be prudent to keep the different shapes and patterns that one sees. Some of these visions are constituents of an individual’s vision.


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