Strange spots when I look out an airplane window.
July 2, 2007 7:15 PM   Subscribe

Each time I fly on an airplane and have the window seat, I notice that when I look out the window I seem to see strange, transparent "spots" floating around.

This only seems to occur once we get above the clouds, once it gets sunny. The clear spots almost seem like they move. I assume this is physiological and has to do with some sort of fluid in the eyes. I have had this all my life and I see it every time. Any ideas? I promise no drugs or alcohol are involved.
posted by tdabbott to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Yup, I have them too, and agree they're most noticeable when looking at a brilliant flat background like the sky.
posted by hodyoaten at 7:17 PM on July 2, 2007

Response by poster: hoydoaten - you nailed it. Thanks much...exactly what I experience.
posted by tdabbott at 7:27 PM on July 2, 2007

They're pretty common, and I see 'em too. The search term you're looking for is "floater".
posted by I EAT TAPAS at 7:27 PM on July 2, 2007

You can see them on the ground, too--just look up at a clear blue sky, or against a plain white wall in bright light. You are lucky if that is the only time you notice them--some people (like me) have considerably more floaters, to the point that it makes it difficult to read text.
posted by Savannah at 7:48 PM on July 2, 2007

I have them too. They're really bad against the blue backdrop of open sky.
posted by ktrey at 8:20 PM on July 2, 2007

Not just floaters, you may also be seeing the blue field entoptic phenomenon. I love it.
posted by brownpau at 8:32 PM on July 2, 2007 [5 favorites]

Another phenomena seen from airplanes:

Circular Rainbows.
posted by tomierna at 9:58 PM on July 2, 2007

If you have it more in one eye than the other it could be Asteroid Hyalosis. I have this, and it's very annoying. Not because it affects my vision, but because opticians seem to like it, and I'm the one person who can never see the effect described by one optician as 'fireworks in your eye'. Bah.
posted by liquidindian at 3:21 AM on July 3, 2007

Now what causes the little silver sparkle type things I see after a particularly hard sneeze?
posted by DieHipsterDie at 7:39 AM on July 3, 2007

Oh, that's excellent! I'd wondered about that for a long time.
My eye muscles would get tired from focussing on the, uh, entoptic phenomenon, but I had no real search terms to look it up. Thank you!
posted by zusty at 2:57 PM on July 3, 2007

DieHipsterDie: Phosphenes.
posted by polyglot at 6:52 AM on July 4, 2007

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