Definition of phosphene in English:



  • A sensation of a ring or spot of light produced by pressure on the eyeball or direct stimulation of the visual system other than by light.

    • ‘When equipped with the full unit, a patient sees a display of phosphenes, which looks, as the Wall Street Journal put it, like ‘the light-bulb array of a stadium scoreboard,’ and which approximates - very roughly - the outlines of objects.’
    • ‘When you put an array of electrodes on the visual cortex of the brain, each electrode produces a small spot of light called a phosphene.’
    • ‘These early studies were limited by problems such as flickering phosphenes and interactions between phosphenes.’
    • ‘This device then stimulates the visual receptors in the brain, allowing users to see shapes such as people and obstacles as a pattern of tiny bursts of light, known as phosphenes.’
    • ‘Until recently artificial stimulation could create only white phosphenes.’


Late 19th century: formed irregularly from Greek phōs ‘light’ + phainein ‘to show’.