As early as 1825, Purkinje1 called attention to a phenomenon that has become more intriguing as more facts have been added concerning it. If an observer in a dark room, preferably with one eye closed, looks a little to the temporal side of a circle or band of light, he will see, in addition to the source of light (the primary stimulus), two curved bands of bright blue beginning at the stimulating light and arching across the visual field to the region of the blind spot. At times the enclosed elliptical area is also filled with a faint blue haze.
Several subsequent workers (Zeeman,2 Tscherning3 and Hubbard4) independently reported the same discovery, being incognizant of Purkinje's original paper because of its inaccessibility.
The cause of the phenomenon has been explained in varying ways. While Purkinje recognized a relationship to the anatomic structure of the retina, he
FRIEDMAN B. THE BLUE ARCS OF THE RETINA. Arch Ophthalmol. 1931;6(5):663–674. doi:10.1001/archopht.1931.00820070690002
Customize your JAMA Network experience by selecting one or more topics from the list below.
Create a personal account or sign in to: