“Sometimes in my dreams, I can see”

Mar 10, 2012

“Sometimes in my dreams, I can see”

Mar 10, 2012

“Do blind people see in their dreams?” To be honest, I’ve never thought much about this question myself. Or rather, I’ve possibly thought about it once or twice, and simply decided that it makes sense for people who were born blind or lost their sight very early to not have anything like the kind of visual dreams sighted people have, whereas blind people who have memories of seeing would at least occasionally have dreams which contain visual images. It always struck me as being pretty obvious and straight-forward.

However, this appears to be a fairly commonly asked question on the topic of blindness (along with the stranger question of whether blind people dream at all). It’s also one of those things that have been touched on in the Daredevil title in the not too recent past, and that makes it a prime topic for at least a quick post. First, let’s take a look at two images from Daredevil #1 (vol 3), both with art by Marcos Martín, before briefly delving into the topic.

Matt has a vivid and disturbing dream, from Daredevil #1, by Mark Waid and Marcos Martín
Matt talks to Foggy about his dream, from Daredevil #1, by Mark Waid and Marcos Martín

To make a long story short, would Matt see in his dreams? The most likely answer is the one he gives above: “Sometimes, just sometimes.” Whether someone who’s blind sees in their dreams depends on two things*: 1) whether the person has any visual experiences to draw from and 2) how much time has passed since the person lost their sight. Since Matt has been blind for more than half of his life – i.e. a relatively long time – the vast majority of his dreams would mimic his experiences while awake. So, he might commonly have radar sense dreams (similar to what we see below, as he comes to after the bus crash in Daredevil #7, art by Paolo Rivera), but probably wouldn’t dream in technicolor very often.

Matt dreams about Kirsten MdDuffie, from Daredevil #7 by Mark Waid and Paolo Rivera

The cases above aren’t the only ones depicting Matt being in some kind of dream state. We also have the scene below, from Daredevil #502, by Andy Diggle and Roberto de la Torre. He also talks about seeing in his dreams in Daredevil #9 (vol 2), by David Mack and Joe Quesada.

Matt has a vivid dream in Daredevil #502, by Andy Diggle and Roberto de la Torre

So there you have it! In case anyone was wondering. 😉 Since I tweeted about this post while working on it, I also got sent this link to the YouTube page of “the blind film critic” Tommy Edison where he actually answers this question for himself (in under a minute and a half). I found that most of his videos are hilariously funny and also have to recommend the video “Shit sighted people say to blind people.” Thanks to Alice the “Darediva” for the tip!

*) For more information on some of the research done on blind people’s dreams, see
Hurovitz, C., Dunn, S., Domhoff, G. W., & Fiss, H. (1999). The dreams of blind men and women: A replication and extension of previous findings. Dreaming, 9, 183-193


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