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Blinded by the Light

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"Can't see anything!... Sun... in eyes!... Must... talk like... this!"
Freakazoid, Freakazoid!, "The Island of Dr. Mystico"

In works of fiction, heroes and villains alike will find every advantage to winning a battle, whether it's a personal Duel to the Death or the ultimate Final Battle. One of the simplest and most prevalent is based on a notion that if the enemy can't see you (or anything), they can't hit you: shining a super bright light source directly into the face of your enemies. This will work to varying degrees depending on the work, from completely blinding and incapacitating your foe to causing just a momentary inconvenience.

Depending on the work, the light source could be any number of things. For example, in Fantasy works it's likely some sort of magic had a hand in it, while in Science Fiction it is more likely to find flashbang grenades or devices specifically designed for this sort of thing. The sun and its reflections are also widely used. A popular sword-fighting variant involves tilting a blade so it reflects the sun's light into your opponent's eyes.

If some characters have been in the dark for a while, this can occur with much weaker lights than normal, while leaving other characters unaffected, since Day Hurts Dark-Adjusted Eyes.

An example of Truth in Television, since the use of stun grenades (AKA flashbangs) is highly prevalent in modern police forces and armies have been using natural light in various ways to blind and hinder their enemies for centuries.note  This is also a characteristic of Nuclear Weapons, with many survivors of the Atomic Bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki left permanently blind afterwards because they were looking in the direction of ground zero when the bombs detonated.

Compare: A Handful for an Eye, Step into the Blinding Fight, Tap on the Head, Deer in the Headlights, Inescapable Net, Weakened by the Light, Instant Sedation, Blinded by the Sun, and Sub-Trope Blinding Camera Flash. Has nothing to do with the battle theme for Final Fantasy XIII. Contrast Kill the Lights. May happen when someone is exploiting a Sniper Scope Glint.

Not to be confused with the 1976 Bruce Springsteen/Manfred Mann's Earth Band song, the 2019 movie named after it, or the single by The Weeknd.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Assassination Classroom: During the battle in the concert hall, Gastro cranks up the stage lights behind him so that the kids can't aim their guns at him properly.
  • Bakugan: Tentaclear’s signature attack is radiating strong light from his single eye to blind his enemies.
  • In Being Able to Edit Skills in Another World, I Gained OP Waifus, when Nagi and Cecil are persecuted by several men who want to enslave them, they end up in a warehouse. Nagi asks Cecil for some light (so he can see where to go), and she provides. By starting a light in front of the merchants... with an intensity on par with the surface of the sun.
  • In the climax of Castle in the Sky, Sheeda and Pazu recited the spell of destruction that caused Laputa to destroy itself and the light of the amulet emitted a strong light that blinded Muska.
  • This trope saves Nobita in the last minute in Doraemon: Nobita's the Legend of the Sun King. Being the subject of a Human Sacrifice of the Evil Sorceress Ledina to save his new friend, Prince Tio, in the middle of an eclipse, Tio suddenly reveals himself to be the one Ledina wants. Ledina decides to stab Nobita anyways, but then the last glint of light bounces off the Mayan medallion Nobita is wearing and blinds Ledina long enough for Nobita to suddenly grab Ledina's dagger-wielding arm and bite her with enough force to make her drop her weapon.
  • The characters in Dragon Ball sometimes use a technique to accomplish this, calling it "Solar Flare."note  Notably, this is one of the most useful techniques in the series, as even enemies leagues more powerful than the user are vulnerable to it.
    • In Dragon Ball, Krillin does this by accident when fighting Goku in a tournament and his bald head reflects light into Goku's eyes.
    • The proper Solar Flare technique is first used by Tien in the martial arts tournament, with Goku blocking it by stealing Master Roshi's sunglasses. Goku himself uses it on multiple occasions thereafter, usually prefacing it with, "Sorry Tien, I'm using your technique!"
    • Goku uses the Solar Flare on Great Ape Vegeta to buy himself some time to create a Spirit Bomb and defeat him.
    • Dragon Ball Z Abridged lampshades their tendency to simply use the ability to run away when Gohan asks Krillin why he doesn't use the opportunity to cut their opponent in half with his Destructo-Disc.
    Krillin: (while hanging on a plane's landing wheels) Wait, that's not my ultimate attack! I thought it was the- Ah, goddamnit, every time!
  • In Fairy Tail, Lucy, Happy, and Loke fight Bickslow, who forces them to keep their eyes closed because he can control anyone who looks into his eyes. Loke gets an idea and flares up his Battle Aura, which is so bright that Bickslow screams and clutches his eyes in pain. Lucy then uses the opportunity to attack him.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist
    • Ling Yao uses a flash grenade while fighting Wrath to blind his one working eye. Too bad about the other one though. This is later Wrath's undoing. While fighting Scar, Wrath is temporarily blinded by the sun emerging from the solar eclipse, long enough for Scar to rip his arms off.
    • Fu also uses a flash grenade to temporarily stun Pride. He had been helpless in the dark until the villagers turned the lights back on, but with the extra light from the flash grenade he can't use his shadows, either.
  • Golgo 13
    • Duke Togo has to escape from The Alcatraz they've thrown him into by climbing up a drainpipe swept by searchlights. He times his climb so he'll be in the swept area at the moment when two searchlights cross over each other, blinding the guards with the combined reflection from the wall.
    • Duke is hired to Pop the Tires of a vehicle at a desert car rally. It turns out to be a trap with Duke being targeted by mercenaries armed with advanced assault rifles. The duel lasts past nightfall and the mercenaries think they have the advantage thanks to their thermal sights, but Duke works himself into a position where an oncoming rally car's headlights shine into the sight, blinding the firer so Duke can kill him.
  • Gunslinger Girl. Marco finds himself facing a Padania terrorist holding his ex-girlfriend as a Human Shield, knowing that Marco's damaged eye will prevent him risking a shot. His cyborg Angelica blinds the terrorist with a torch attached to her handgun, providing a distraction so the hostage can break free.
  • Lupin III: Island of Assassins has Lupin using a flashbomb to escape Zenigata and his cops.
  • Some ninja in Naruto, like C of Hidden Cloud and Fuu of Hidden Waterfall, have abilities that function like this.
  • Agito of the Lyrical Nanoha franchise has the Starengeheul ("Starling's Howl") spell, where she uses her fire magic to create a flashbang effect. She first uses it in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, warning Lutecia to close her eyes before she fires it off.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam, the Dom mobile suit has a small beam cannon on its chest. It's not really powerful enough to do any real harm to enemy mobile suits, so it mainly gets used as a flash-bang.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam 0083: Stardust Memory has Kou blind Gato by firing his maneuvering thrusters in Gato's face. He then takes advantage of this moment to deal a fatal blow to Gato's mobile suit (Gato himself survives unharmed, and manages to deal a fatal blow to Kou's suit in return).
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam AGE, the AGE-2 Dark Hound has a floodlight mounted in its chest for precisely this reason. And Captain Ash is a pragmatic enough fighter that he will take advantage of his enemy's vulnerability and take them down.
  • In My Hero Academia, the invisible girl Toru Hagakure can refract and intensify light inside her body, blinding her opponent. This doubles as a Visual Pun; since she performs the technique in her hero costume, which is basically just a pair of gloves and shoes, she's flashing her opponents.
  • In Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, attacking from above and using the Sun's glare to hide his position from aircraft turrets is Prince Asbel's favored strafing tactic.
  • In Ninja Scroll, blind samurai Utsutsu Mujuro uses his sword to reflect sunlight, blinding protagonist Jubei.
  • One Piece
    • Parodied during the Skypiea Arc. Zoro found himself in a swords vs. guns battle with Braham, who used pistols that were equipped with Flash Dials as to blind the opponent anytime he shot at them. Zoro realized he can combat this with his goggles, but unfortunately, The Goggles Do Nothing since they're not tinted at all.
    • The Flash Dial comes back during Luffy's fight with Usopp, which he uses after making Luffy hesitate with a cough of fake blood.
    • Marine Admiral Kizaru can do it with his Devil Fruit power, demonstrating it on Basil Hawkins in the Sabaody Archipelago arc; though Scratchmen Apoo managed to distract Kizaru before he could go in for the kill.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Homura's extensive arsenal includes flashbangs.
  • At the beginning of Saint Seiya's "Asgard Saga," the God Warrior Syd of Mizar Zeta makes a very effective point to Shun about "attacking in the direction of the Sun" by leaping above him and using the bright midday Sun to blind the Andromeda Saint.
  • Samurai Champloo has Fuu using two fireworks to blind and confuse the guards at the execution grounds, allowing Mugen and Jin to escape.
  • In Shinkaigyo no Anko-san, the main character Anko is an anglerfish whose lure can light up. She regularly cranks it up a few notches to blind annoying or threatening people, like her friend Wakasa in one of her grabby moods.
  • Sky Girls:
    • During the first episode, Ace Pilot Eika got defeated by a new, Sonic Diver-piloting test pilot when her target transformed and attacked from the direction of the sun. Granted, she is using a conventional fighter jet at the time and her opponent is very nimble.
    • In a true show of piloting ability, Eika used the exact same tactic combined with careful maneuvering against a Teen Genius who very nearly beat her through sheer talent later in the series.

    Card Games 

    Comic Books 
  • The Ted Kord version of the Blue Beetle carries a strobe light weapon that temporarily blinds his victims. It was later modified to also emit a powerful compressed air blast that knocks over anybody it hits.
  • In the Doctor Who Expanded Universe comics, the Fourth Doctor once built a "fizgig", which projected "ultra-white light."
  • In one of the Polish Gods from Outer Space comics, Ais turns on her helmet light during a Gunpoint Banter scene.
  • One issue of The Punisher has him narrate how devastating a single flashbang grenade is to the senses. The next panel shows him dropping three at once through a skylight on some mobsters.
  • Robin (1993):
    • Tim Drake carries a few little bright flashing type weapons he can toss in a fight to force an opponent to protect their eyes. He uses one to escape a fight with Brutus once, as the giant of a man is cannot be harmed by being punched or kicked.
    • In Annual #6, Robin and his allies are forced into a showdown with a gang of bikers, with them facing the rising sun so it is in their eyes. They manage to turn the tables on their attackers by hiding mirrors under their ponchos. At the crucial moment, they throw back their ponchos and reflect the sunlight back in the eyes of their attackers, allowing them to regain the initiative.
  • In Robyn Hood:I Love NY #3, Robyn is blinded and deafened by a flashbang, which leads to her committing Self-Offense on Agent Red.
  • Harley Quinn does this to Deadshot in Suicide Squad #7. Harley kills the lights, knowing that Deadshot will switch to infra-red. As soon as he does so, she sets off a magnesium flare.
  • Superlópez: An early Villain of the Week blinded Superlópez with the light of a lantern reflected off his shiny bald head.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: The Mole Men find bright light to be painfully blinding.
  • X-Wing Rogue Squadron: In The Phantom Affair, a gang of pro-Imperial thugs attacks Rogue Squadron pilot Tycho Celchu. He beats most of them down by himself, but the last one gets the drop on him and is preparing to deliver the final (possibly fatal) blow, when he's slashed through the eyes by a phantom Jedi's lightsaber, causing instant blindness and much pained yelling. It turns out later that the "Jedi" is just a hologram, and given that holograms are actually just light (lasers, to be specific), this trope stands.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): In this Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) fanfiction, Mothra during the Final Battle against Keizer Ghidorah uses brilliant flashes of her God Rays to blind the enemy's heads.
  • In The Arithmancer, Harry actually gets the advice he missed out on in canon, to try using a Conjunctivitis Curse to get past a dragon. But Hermione isn't confident that he'll be able to reliably hit it, so instead she invents a spell to let him extract pure magnesium powder from the soil around him and throw it at the dragon. It not only blinds the dragon, but puts it completely out of the fight.
  • In Whispers, Celestia incapacitates Nightmare Moon by blinding her with the sun.
  • Faith and Doubt features Celestia getting hit by Twilight's light-and-sound spell. It was specifically engineered by her because, while an alicorn like Celestia resists direct magic attacks, secondary effects like the sensory overload from a magical flashbang are a whole different dancing tune.
  • Vesta uses this in Game Theory as an application of her illusion magic.
  • In Kitsune no Ken: Fist of the Fox, during his fight with Naruto and Roshi, Deidara uses flash-bang grenades that have this effect.
  • Fates Collide: During a sparring match, Henry Jekyll uses his knife to reflect sunlight into Emerald Sustrai's eyes.
  • In Frozen Turtles, the final fight between the Turtles, Karai, Elsa and Anna against the Shredder in Arendelle ends when Elsa creates an ice wall that reflects the rising sun into Shredder’s eyes, distracting him just long enough for the heroes to overpower him.
  • Fantasy of Utter Ridiculousness: This happens to Momiji when she makes the mistake of looking at a heavily amplified Double Spark from clear across Gensokyo, illustrating a severe drawback of telescopic vision.
  • In The Boy Without a Fairy, Navi has the ability to release a harsh flash of light which disorients and temporarily blinds foes. She uses this ability multiple times to save Link from dangerous situations.
  • Pokémon Reset Bloodlines: During Ash's second round in the Indigo League, his opponent dons a pair of sunshades before ordering his Exeggutor to use Flash (amplified by previously using Double Team, creating light from every clone on the field). The purpose was to set up a Trick Room with Ash being none the wiser, thus hampering Ash's Yanma whose main asset is speed.
  • Alya and the Harem Reality has this as one of Alya's more offensive illusion tricks as Rena Rouge. The Fox Miraculous might only create illusions, but an illusion of a flashbang in the face is still a blinding light in the face and is quite effective if Rena Rougue has to fight someone at close range.
  • Vow of Nudity: While staring down a heavy crossbow unarmed and drained of spellslots, Spectra blinds her attacker with healing magic to make a desperate getaway.

    Films — Animation 
  • In 9, during the fight with the Winged Beast, 9 temporarily blinds it by using a piece of roofing to reflect sunlight at it.
  • The Adventures of Tintin (2011): Tintin shoots a lever on a searchlight, knocking it around so it shines in the eyes of the thugs that are chasing him.
  • In Barbie: Mariposa, the Skeezites can't invade Flutterfield because they can't stand Marabella's lights.
  • Batman: Gotham by Gaslight. Selena Kyle is being hunted through the grounds of the Gotham World Fair by Jack the Ripper. As he advances on her, she turns on a searchlight to temporarily blind him, then smears her blood on the lens in a rough bat-shape and points it up at the clouds.
  • In The Sponge Bob Square Pants Movie, this is used for comical effect as a background character's reaction to King Neptune's baldness (which is apparently so severe that his scalp's as bright as a spotlight).
    Citizens: Bald! Bald! Bald! Bald!
    Fred: MY EYES!!!
  • The Transformers: The Movie: Hot Rod shines his headlights into Galvatron's optics during their battle (in a dark room), and Galvatron's flinch gives Hot Rod a couple free shots at him.
  • In Turning Red, Mei and Ming are momentarily blinded by the daylight streaming in from the doorway behind Mei's aunties as they make their entrance.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Accident. The final 'accident' that Brain arranges involves sunlight reflected off a CCTV camera and a car windscreen into the face of a driver so he won't see the target on the road in front of him. It's stopped by a Convenient Eclipse, only to trigger again after the eclipse ends, killing the target's wife instead.
  • Alien: Covenant. David's first appearance is when he drives off the attacking Neomorphs with a flare that emits blinding light and sound, despite them having an Eyeless Face. Of course David has had years to study the aliens and determine any weaknesses, and it's known the aliens do have vision and hearing.
  • Averted in And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself, in which General Pancho Villa has made a deal with Hollywood allowing them to film his battles. When attacking the fortress at Torreon, Villa originally intends to attack with the sun behind his troops, so the Federal defenders will be firing into the rising sun. But the primitive cameras of the day need more light, so his troops charge towards the sun and get massacred by the Federals who can see them clearly. After that the rebels always attack at night and just recreate the battle the next day for the cameras.
  • In Batman Begins, Henri Ducard shows Bruce Wayne how to use a pinch of gunpowder to achieve this effect.
  • The aliens in Battleship have a really low tolerance for light. A random crewmember figures it out by studying the eyes of a captive alien and pointing out that they look similar to his pet lizard's, who never likes bright lights. This is used to destroy an alien ship, when Alex and Nagata break open the window on its bridge with high-power sniper rifles. The aliens on the bridge are blinded by the rising sun for a few seconds, until their nictitating membrane closes to filter out the light. Enough time for the USS John Paul Jones to deliver a deadly barrage at point-blank range (for a warship).
  • Black Jack 1998 sees the hero, Jack, having a flash grenade exploding in front of his face in the opening shootout, though he did manage to regain his vision and kill all his assailants. Unfortunately, it gives him a crippling phobia of the colour white, which the main villain exploits by tricking Jack to fight him in a white-draped room.
  • Blind Fury: In the climax, Frank throws several home made chemical grenades which don't have much force but explode brightly enough to disorient MacCready's men.
  • Brass Target (1978). A train is stopped in a railroad tunnel by sending a motorised trolley rigged with lights to simulate an oncoming train. After the train stops it's attacked with Deadly Gas and its cargo of Nazi Gold stolen.
  • In The Car: Road to Revenge, Rainer blinds Talen by spinning round a corner and shining a flashlight directly in his eyes.
  • Children of Men. When Theo is kidnapped by the Fishes, they take precautions to ensure he can't identify anyone like wearing balaclavas, holding him in a tiny room with the windows covered and shining a spotlight in his face. However his ex is working for them, so she just turns the spotlight off and lets him out of the room to talk properly.
  • Cliffhanger: Ryan's night-vision goggles overload and blind him when Gabe throws a flare at them.
  • In DarkWolf, two people manage to escape the werewolf by blinding it with camera flashes.
  • Enemy at the Gates has Vasili pinned down behind a piece of rubble by a German sniper. His Love Interest uses a mirror shard to reflect sunlight right into the German's scope, making him flinch just long enough for Vasili to take a snap-shot at him and get away.
  • In Game of Death, the enemy played by Kareem Abdul Jabaar has light-sensitive eyes. Bruce Lee gains the advantage by breaking holes in the walls to let the light in.
  • Godzilla (1998): The cab's high-beams are used to make Zilla flinch away from the tunnel mouth.
  • James Bond
    • Goldfinger. During the golf game, James Bond tosses a gold bar onto the grass just as Goldfinger is about to make his shot. The light reflecting off the bar (and the distracting sight of all that gold) causes Goldfinger to miss.
    • On Her Majesty's Secret Service. The guards at Piz Gloria detain a British agent posing as a mountaineer. While speaking to the trespasser, Blofeld stands with the sun behind him so the man can't get a look at his face.
    • No Time to Die. Nomi is being held at gunpoint by the Cuban police, so she fires a grenade launcher at some power lines and by the time the sparks have finished flying, she's vanished.
  • Hawk the Slayer. Voltan has his brother tied to a tree for crossbow practice, when Hawk's medallion shines a cross-like reflection in Voltan's face, providing a momentary distraction so that Hawk's girl can pick up a burning brand and provide a more permanent blinding. For the climatic battle, the witch uses her magic to create a cheap special effect to blind the guards so the heroes can kill them more easily.
  • Hitman (1998): The villain's dragon, creatively named "Tall Guy", wears a ring with an LED light which he uses to blind his opponents during fight scenes. In the final battle the protagonist (played by Jet Li) managed to subdue the Tall Guy by damaging his ring, only for him to reveal he had LED lights in the tip of his shoes as well.
  • Hook: The Lost Boys have one set of weapons that use mirrors to blind the pirates during the Final Battle.
  • In The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, during the raid on the Tribute Tower, the lights suddenly come back on, blinding the team and alerting the audience that something is horribly wrong.
  • Iron Man. When Iron Man is being crushed by Iron Monger, Tony lets off all his flares because he doesn't have anything else. It works enough to make Iron Monger let go because its pilot is momentarily dazzled (specifically blinding the sight cameras in the eyes).
  • Jack Reacher. Reacher knows the villains have a master sniper working for them. He brings his own marksman, ex-marine 'Gunny' Cash, who says the sniper will be hiding behind one of the construction lights surrounding the quarry (Reacher notices Gunny has one eye closed, which Gunny explains is to preserve his night vision). Reacher asks if Gunny can't shoot out the lights, but that would only expose his position before all the lights were knocked out.
  • Jason Bourne averts an assassination by turning a spotlight to where the sniper is hiding, causing him to miss his shot.
  • In Jumanji, Judy blinds Van Pelt with a price scanner.
  • Kick-Ass. During a Darkened Building Shootout, The Mafia mooks start a fire so they can see Hit Girl who's shooting at them with the aid of night vision goggles. She sets the flashlight on her pistol on strobe to blind them, then uses it as a distraction by removing it from her pistol and leaving it on a shelf. The remaining mooks all fire at the flashing light, failing to realise that Hit Girl is coming up behind them.
  • In A Kid in King Arthur's Court, Calvin opens his CD player and shines the laser into a bad guy's eyes.
  • Used a few times in The Last Witch Hunter:
    • When Belial attempts to kidnap Chloe, he starts with overloading lights in her house and she covers her face when they suddenly flash light way more powerful than moments before.
    • During his final fight with Witch Queen, Kaulder uses some improvised flash grenades several times to knock the witch off-balance, blinding her for a moment every time.
  • During the final duel in the first Lone Wolf and Cub film, Ogami faces off against his enemy in a seemingly fair fight. At the climatic moment, however, he bends down, revealing Daigoro on his back — wearing a plate on his forehead that reflects the sunlight straight into the foe's eyes.
  • In the 1981 film Looker, a strobe light weapon doesn't blind its victims, but rather hypnotizes them which causes them to lose all sense of time.
  • In The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, this happens to the Uruk-hai at the end of the Battle of Helms Deep when the sun rises behind the charging cavalry.
  • In Nightmare at Noon, Riley removes the albino scientist's sunglasses, and he cries out and covers his eyes.
  • Now You See Me 2: Atlas uses a camera flash to blind a technician in the server room during the Octa job. Later, the crew shine lights in Tressler's eyes to prevent him from getting a good look at the inside of the hangar.
  • The Outlaw Josey Wales. Use of this trope is lampshaded when Josey Wales attacks some outlaws, riding at them from the direction of the sun.
  • Polar. Duncan Vizla is attacked in his woodland cabin by a team of professional killers. He kills their sniper and uses his rifle to shoot out the lights of the cabin, exposing them to the thermal sight on the rifle. So the leader of the hit team lights up a flare to wash out the thermal image. Unfortunately the flare eventually burns out...
  • At the end of Rear Window, the protagonist keeps the killer at bay by shooting off a series of flashbulbs, momentarily stopping him blind. This allows just enough time for the police to show up within earshot.
  • SAS: Rise of the Black Swan. An SAS soldier comes across a mercenary planting explosives in the Channel Tunnel, who on being confronted threatens to set off the radio detonator. To see what he's doing in the dark tunnel the mercenary is wearing a torch strapped to his forehead, meaning the SAS man can't be sure of getting an accurate kill shot with the light shining in his face.
  • A flash bomb is used in Serenity to blind the Operative and escape.
  • Solomon and Sheba (1959). Solomon's tiny army is being charged by the Egyptians. He uses their polished shields to reflect the rising sun in the eyes of the charioteers, so they don't realise Solomon's men are standing before a chasm and plunge right in.
  • In Top Gun: Maverick during the initial evaluation of the aviators, when it was Hangman's turn to have a shot at Maverick, Mav flies into the sun while Hangman's pursuing him. This causes Hangman to lose sight of Maverick and leaving him open to a shot.
  • Westworld. The implacable robot gunslinger stalking Peter Martin has infra-red vision, so Peter hides behind the Hollywood Torches in Medieval World.
  • In Zig Zag (2002), ZigZag's favorite part of his shift is when the light gets so bright that he has to navigate by touch, as that makes it easier for him to go on autopilot and retreat inside his head.

  • The Sorcery! series has the SUN spell, available for wizard players, where they can illuminate a Sun Jewel until it's powerful enough to scare away lesser enemies.

  • Carver of The Accident Man, uses a green laser "dazzler" to blind the driver of the former princess's limo to cause it to crash.
  • In Alas, Babylon, Peyton is temporarily blinded due to looking directly at the nuclear explosion that destroys Tampa.
  • Alex Rider: In Ark Angel, Alex blinds The Dragon Kaspar by opening the window shutter on the sun-side of the space station as Kaspar is facing the window.
  • In Devon Monk's Magic to the Bone, Allie uses this on a would-be kidnapper: a two-second flash, too simple and childish to be expected.
  • The protagonist of Barbara Kingsolver's Animal Dreams is haunted by a recurring vague nightmare about a blinding flash of light, accompanied by a "shattering pop." It turns out to be her neonatal memory of a camera flashbulb.
  • The Black Magician Trilogy: Sonea pulls this off when being harassed by other apprentices at night. She doesn't want to fight back, because she's much more powerful and could hurt or kill them. Instead, she turns off her magical light for a few moments, so their eyes adjust to the darkness, then turns the light up. Her assailants end up temporarily blinded.
  • Heleth in The ColSec Trilogy has superhuman night vision, but is photophobic as a trade-off. In the third book, a particularly bright light not only temporarily blinds her, but actually causes her to faint from pain.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "A Witch Shall Be Born", Salome uses light to blind Tamaris's rescuers.
  • Discworld: In The Fifth Elephant, Vimes' coach is accosted in a mountain pass where the sun has already gone down. Vimes gets out to talk to the robbers and takes the time to light his cigar. When "dark clerk" Inigo Skimmer chides him later for the grandstanding, Vimes' reply is "you mean when I closed my eyes and they had to look at a bright flame in the darkness?" In other words he destroyed their night vision, making them unable to see the crossbow-spring he used to kill the leader.
  • The sight of Saint John in The Divine Comedy, whose soul is so bright that it could turn a month of winter into a single day, blinds Dante. He is only so afflicted for about a hundred lines, when his faith in Christ's death and resurrection allows Beatrice to restore his sight via Healing Hands.
  • Averted in The Dresden Files. While it's the first instinct of most wizards to call up light in the dark, not only does it not blind badass enemies, but it lights the wizard up as a target. Harry wises up and uses different tactics as the series goes on.
    • He also specifically uses Dragon's Breath shotgun rounds both as a weapon (a massive blast of fire from a shotgun is more effective than Harry's standard fire projection, because it doesn't tire him out) and as a distraction (the gout of flame blinds things accustomed to darkness, and also alerts Harry's allies to his location and signals them to come save the day).
    • Molly specializes in this: being an exceptionally powerful illusionist, but lacking in combat magic, her preferred method of "fighting" is her One Woman Rave, where she conjures up magical light and fireworks in extremis to blind and disorient her enemies.
  • Heralds of Valdemar: Kerowyn, the heroine of By The Sword, uses the combination of highly polished armour, mirrors, and some minor magic to amplify reflected light, to storm a Karsite position with few casualties. This is particularly psychologically damaging to the Karsite soldiers as they worship a Sun God.
  • In the final book of the Inheritance Cycle, Inheritance, during Eragon's sparring match training against Arya, Eragon gets the idea to distract Arya during the pre-duel positioning so that she focuses on him, and doesn't notice he's putting his back to the sun. It works well enough to get in a first attack, but then Arya holds him off long enough to regain her vision, and she starts to win the spar.
  • Tom Clancy uses this in a number of his Jack Ryan books. In addition to the standard flashbangs, Debt of Honor features a high-intensity blinding light weapon, stated to be a nonlethal weapon. It is indeed nonlethal, if horribly effective, when used on a mook. Then it's used on the pilots of enemy aircraft as they're attempting to land their planes.
  • In John Gardner's James Bond novels, one of the modifications fitted to Bond's car is a high-intensity halogen flashbulb replacing the bulb that illuminates the number plate. This is used to blind pursuers.
  • Requiem for an Assassin by Barry Eisler. John Rain uses a high-lumen flashlight to blind a cyclist riding at night in the rain so he'll slam on the brakes, skid and fall off his bicycle. Rain then snaps his neck, making it look like the cyclist died in a freak accident.
  • In Kea's Flight, robots flash lights at misbehaving students before carrying them to an isolation room.
  • In the first book of The Legend of Drizzt, Drizzt floods the room with light to escape from his family (who are now trying to kill him). Being creatures who live their whole lives in the dark underground, the light is not only blinding, but painful as well.
  • Neuromancer: Riviera has an implanted hologram projector that he usually uses for illusions, but Case notes that such a projector would require a laser strong enough to burn out retinas and when he betrays the group he uses it that way, though he blinds a Cyber Ninja who practiced archery with eyes closed.
  • In the first Redwall book, one of Cluny the Scourge's first mistakes when trying to take Redwall Abbey is to pepper the defenders on the walls sunward, meaning that his bowbeasts can barely even aim where they're firing, all while the Redwallers return fire unhindered.
  • Rhythm of War: When Navani bonds the Sibling and starts creating Towerlight, the combination of the Light and the re-activation of the Tower's anti-Odium defenses leaves Moash blind. And even once he's out of the Tower and is given Stormlight, his eyes don't heal.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire. During a Trial by Combat, Ser Gregor Clegane stands with his back to the sun to blind his opponent, the Dornish prince Oberyn Martell. Martell turns this against him by using his polished metal shield to reflect the sun back into Gregor's vision slit.
  • The Speed of Sound: When McHenry rescues Skylar from her kidnapper in The Sound of Echoes, he foils his attempt at using her as a Human Shield by throwing a flashbang grenade into the room, blinding and deafening both of them and causing the kidnapper to fall to the ground.
  • Subverted in James Follett's The Tiptoe Boys (later filmed as Who Dares Wins). The SAS soldiers rescuing their comrade's family can't use flashbangs because it will cause permanent neurological damage to the hero's infant daughter. They settle for making a "fucking great hole" in the wall so that each terrorist can be engaged by one commando. In the book, they take bricks out and leave only the wallpaper; in the film, they use detcord to cut their way through. It works.
  • In Wings of Fire, Tsunami often uses her bioluminescent scales to this effect. It is especially effective because, even though all of the SeaWing tribe has scales that work like that, they don't use it to blind opponents. Tsunami was raised separately from her tribe so she ends up being a very unorthodox fighter.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the climax of 5ive Days to Midnight, Jessie causes the would-be murderer of her father to miss by shining a laser pointer in his eye just as he pulls the trigger.
  • Agent Carter: Peggy Carter puts on welding goggles, then uses some kind of spy gadget to blind a corrupt Roxxon employee with a gun.
  • Arrow: In "Betrayal", the Hood uses a Trick Arrow with pyrotechnic warhead to momentarily blind a couple of sharpshooters so he can shoot them in turn.
  • In the 1988 mini-series adaption of The Bourne Identity, Jason Bourne throws a roadflare into the room where Carlos is, before charging in and shooting him.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: In "The Initiative", Buffy just happens to be armed with a Flare Pistol when up against Initiative commandos wearing Night-Vision Goggles in a dark corridor.
  • Done at least twice by Team Westen on Burn Notice, the first time with a homemade flashbang, and the second time with a car's hi-beams.
  • Cowboy Bebop (2021): In a flashback to when he was an ISSP detective, Jet Black is holding a criminal at gunpoint and demands to know the identity of the Dirty Cop he's working with. Then he's blinded by the headlights of a parked car and someone shoots him with a police-issue revolver. As he never saw his assailant, he has no idea which one of his fellow officers set him up to be killed.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "The Daleks", the Thals baffle the Daleks' cameras with handheld mirrors.
    • In "Warriors of the Deep", the Myrka is killed by an intense ray of ultraviolet light aimed at its eyes.
  • Game of Thrones: In the penultimate episode, Daenerys launches her first attack run on the Iron Fleet from out of the sun, which is diffused by clouds but still bright enough to prevent the scorpion gunners from aiming properly.
  • Get Smart: In "Too Many Chiefs", posing as the Chief at Max's apartment (while the real one is there as well) is KAOS agent Alexey Sebastian, who is mentioned as having a sensitivity to bright light. Max exposes him with a table lamp in the eyes before gunning him down in the climax.
  • Henry Danger: In "Diamonds Are For Heather", Heather is a jewel thief who has a photographer with her use a super bright flash on his camera to termprarily blind everyone in the room including Captain Man and Kid Danger while she and her photographer were safely wearing special shades.
  • Highlander: The Series had a rogue Watcher who killed other immortals in a dark room while wearing image-intensifying goggles. Duncan thwarts this by using a lit match to blind the guy long enough to take him out.
  • Home Improvement: Tim manages to rig an obscenely bright snowman decoration during the Christmas season it's so bright they need to put on goggles and Tim advises his family not to look directly at it.
  • Iron Fist (2017): This is the move that enabled Danny Rand to beat his friend Davos during their duel to see who would become the Iron Fist. Davos is seemingly getting the better of Danny, until Danny lures him into a position where the sun shining through a skylight blinds Davos at a crucial moment.
  • JAG: In "Sightings", this is one of two methods the UFO has of rendering people helpless.
  • Life on Mars (2006): Time-traveling cop Sam Tyler embarrasses himself telling a witness that he'll be behind one-way glass when identifying some bank robbers. As he's in The '70s, we Gilligan Cut to the witness facing the Death Glaring suspects in the middle of the canteen. Naturally he balks at making the identification. At the end of the episode, Tyler rigs up some floodlights so the criminals can't see who is identifying them. However as the witness now has more confidence in the detectives after they saved him from a murder attempt, he steps boldly into the light to identify the robbers.
  • The Magician: In "The Illusion of the Cat's Eye", Tony blinds the bad guy who is chasing him with a shotgun through a darkened warehouse by tossing a piece of burning flash paper in his face.
  • Malcolm in the Middle: In "Boys at Ranch", Malcolm and his brothers launch illegal fireworks over Francis' ranch, including a rocket called the "Komodo 3000". The blast is so bright, night briefly turns into day!
    Francis: Did it say when our vision would come back?
    Reese: Box said two days.
    Francis: [beat] Totally worth it!
  • The Mandalorian:
    • In "Sanctuary", Cara Dune jumps out at Mando from the direction of the sun, providing a momentary advantage in the subsequent hand-to-hand combat.
    • In "The Gunslinger", Mando and Toro are being fired on a night by Fennec Shand who is armed with a sniper rifle, so they overload her thermal sight by firing off flares. Later, when Toro turns against him, Mando detonates another flare to blind him so he can Shoot the Hostage Taker.
  • Murdoch Mysteries: In "Convalescence", a weakened Murdoch turns the tables on his attacker by slipping his experimental night-vision goggles on her head. Designed to work in near darkness, they amplify the normal light in the room to the point where she is blinded.
  • Person of Interest: In "Liberty", Reese uses a foil wrapping to reflect sunlight in a sniper's face so Shaw can sneak up and clobber him. In "The Devil's Share" he shoots a pile of flares he's left in a corridor to blind a SWAT-team with night-vision goggles.
  • The Professionals:
    • In "Servant with Two Masters", a man is sitting at a desk pointing a gun at Bodie and Doyle. Doyle shoves the desklamp so it shines into the man's face causing him to flinch, whereupon Bodie snatches the gun off him.
    • In "Hunter/Hunted", Cowley is testing a Laser Sight during a training exercise. He shines it into the eyes of a trainee causing him to become disoriented and fall from the roof into a conveniently placed pool of water. Hopefully he didn't suffer any eye damage either!
    • In "Mixed Doubles", a terrorist has a rendezvous with a hired killer in a dark room. Being Properly Paranoid, the man enters via the rear and shines a torch in his face. The terrorist retorts that he just has to aim a foot above the torch beam. Turns out he's not actually holding it.
  • The Punisher (2017): In "The Dark Hearts of Men", Frank Castle storms Billy Russo's hideout only to find himself in a dark room where he's then disoriented by strobe lights, then ambushed and captured.
  • In an episode of Sherlock, John is trapped in a lab room. A hugely bright light is shined in his eyes for about half a minute, with his attempts to get away from it useless, and then, when the lights go almost completely dark, the afterimage of the light prevents him from seeing anything. Which is a problem when the demon hound is apparently in the room with him, about to attack.
  • In Spartacus: Blood and Sand, Crixus reflects sunlight with his helmet into Theokoles' eyes, allowing Spartacus to get close enough to kill him. As Theokoles was an albino, his eyes were especially sensitive to light.
  • Star Trek: Voyager:
    • In "Displaced", Voyager has been seized by aliens who are sensitive to light. They've dimmed the ship lights, so Chakotay turns them up to full brightness.
    • In "Live Fast and Prosper", the Voyager crew comes up against a group of con artists who have been impersonating Janeway, Chakotay and Tuvok. Tuvok eventually comes face-to-face to with the man who is impersonating him and the con remains in-character, commenting that "Logic would indicate that neither of us has the advantage." Tuvok responds "Your logic is flawed," and shines a flashlight in his eyes, then stuns him with a phaser.
    • In "Repression", an unknown person is attacking members of the crew. One crewman is working in a Jeffries tube, only to be dazzled by a SIMS beacon held by an unseen attacker. Ironically, the attacker turns out to be a brainwashed Tuvok.
  • Star Trek: Picard: In "Broken Pieces", Elnor is momentarily stunned by a flashbang grenade, which severely disorientates him and he's noticeably slower when he confronts Narissa's minions in this episode than in his previous action scenes. His Super Reflexes are his chief advantage in combat, so when they're Brought Down to Normal, he struggles because he's outnumbered and his foes are able to bind his hands.
  • Supernatural: In "Hollywood Babylon", the actor playing Mitch accidentally does this to Tara when he shines his flashlight in her face.
  • The Sweeney: In "Nightmare", a couple of renegade ex-IRA have got hold of an experimental laser-sighted rifle. Regan and Carter tell them to Put Down Your Gun and Step Away which they do, but then one of them turns on the battery pack on his belt activating the laser which shines into Regan's eyes, temporarily blinding him.
  • Titans (2018): The supervillain Dr Light often uses his light-based powers to do a Stealth Hi/Bye while everyone is covering their eyes.
  • Treadstone:
    • In the first episode CIA agent Bentley is being held at gunpoint by KGB agent Petra in a mortuary. His hands are near a shelf holding camera equipment, so he fires off a flashbulb in her face and does a Stealth Hi/Bye.
    • SoYun is being chokeslammed by a soldier when she grabs a tactical torch off his belt and shines it in his eyes, then uses it to reinforce her own punches.
  • Many Ultra Series kaiju possess the ability to create powerful flashes of light to temporarily incapacitate foes, but the two most famous examples debuted in the original Ultraman — Zaragas, who fires them from numerous sockets on its body, and Kiyla, who possesses literal Glowing Eyes of Doom.
    • Ultraman Tiga, being a Warrior of Light, does this in a regular basis. In one episode he actually discharged enough light energy to cause Abolubas, a nocturnal alien monster sensitive to light, to dissolve into a puddle of ooze.

    Myths & Religion 
  • There was a biblical battle that took place and overall the terrain was consistent no matter which direction you would attack from. So the attacker came around dawn from the east so the sun would be at his men's back and in the eyes of the enemy. This is actually a very valid tactic: if you can use it do so.
  • In The Bible, when Jesus confronts Paul for the treatment of His followers, He approaches him in a beam of light, knocking him off of his horse. This trope ends up becoming a literal example as Paul temporarily becomes blind.
  • Also from The Bible: in the Book of Judges, a tactic used by Gideon and his army against the Midianites was to hide their torches within jars and then break them when the shofar sounded within close proximity to the camp, and also when "the sword of the Lord and of Gideon" was shouted. This sudden burst of light caused the Midianites to end up fighting with each other instead of with the enemy, since this attack took place at night.

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech Expanded Universe: The Particle Projector Cannon is noted as firing a blinding lightning-like particle beam that can disrupt sensors. However, combat vehicle viewscreens can filter out the light. In the second Saga of the Gray Death Legion novel, Grayson Carlyle pilots a PPC-toting "Marauder" Humongous Mecha with a blown canopy inside an abandoned factory. He alternates between eyes to avoid being completely blinded as he fires the PPCs, and by the end of the fight suffers from facial burns and corneal damage.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The game features a variety of spells that use light to blind and/or incapacitate an enemy. Initially, the basic Light and Daylight spells could be used for this by casting them directly at an enemy's eyes, but this has since been removed. Other spells that still use light-based effects to blind enemies include Color Spray and Prismatic Wall.
    • Certain races, particularly subterranean ones such as drow, have a light blindness trait that penalizes them for being outside in daylight.
    • Defied by the sunmaster, a Prestige Class from the 3.5E supplement Lost Empires of Faerûn. The class feature for 2nd level grants immunity to blindness or dazing due to light effects, in addition to a few other powers.
    • In 5th edition, a solar angel can use its brilliant gaze to strike other creatures blind.
    • 5th Edition's Light-domain Clerics can also suddenly blind attackers charging at them (or at their allies after a few levels) to impose Disadvantage on their strikes. Naturally, creatures that can't be blinded are immune to this.
    • Mercury dragons have bodies as shiny as quicksilver, and thus can forgo wing buffet attacks to use their wings as mirrors, redirecting light in a cone to replicate the daylight spell, or creating a concentrated beam of light to blind a single foe for several rounds.
    • People caught in a radiant dragon's light-based Breath Weapon are left blinded for a number of rounds, which the dragon can cut short using its ability to cast remove blindness.
  • Fate of the Norns: Ragnarok: Various spells can blind friend and/or foe. Some immortal warriors can notably create giant pillars of fire, dropping from the skies, burning and blinding their opponents.
  • Hero System: The Flash power can temporarily blind any sense. The player is encouraged to define the particular mechanism (a target might be blinded with bright light, tear-inducing chemicals, or a direct hit to the eyes with an irritant; an attack on the sense of smell might be a pungent Stink Bomb or a nose-numbing vapor; etc).
  • In Psionics: The Next Stage in Human Evolution getting hit with a flashbang grenade grants severe penalties to checks, tests, and defense, as it both deafens and blinds the target.
  • Shadowrun: Anyone looking at a flash-pak grenade when it's active gets an eyeful of bright, randomly strobing light for a few seconds.

    Theme Parks 
  • Universal Studios: In the old Kongfrontation ride at Universal Studios Florida, there was a more accidental-instance of this in a scene where the tram's guide would be unable to see due to a light coming from a chopper, incidentally leading the tram right back to King Kong in the process.


    Video Games 
  • AdventureQuest uses a variety of different uses of this trope for inflicting Blind. The late-game Ultraviolent Light spell is not ONLY a large, magical ball of light that works like a flashbomb— it absorbs ALL the light in the area (blacking out the rest of the screen), and THEN explodes violently (covering the entire screen in light). It's little wonder that it's both rather lethal and has the tendency to blind most foes for a very long period of time (unlike most Blind effects in the game, which operate on a turn-based timer, UL's status works until the victim pulls off a successful save roll) It's also an inversion, too, as the darkness-based hit can inflict Blind even if the explosion itself misses (the save roll is weaker than a normal save roll if only one attack hits, but if both connect the save roll is tougher than usual).
  • Alan Wake: Some NPCs react to the player shining a light in their face by shielding their eyes. The Taken, on the other hand, are damaged or destroyed outright.
  • Armored Core 4 and 4 Answer gives you the 09-FLICKER Flash Rockets. These literally are flashbang in rocket form and having it set off anywhere near you means that you lose lock-on capability for some time. Very bad against close-range combatants like Anjou/Ange, and especially Shinkai. Getting hit by an Assault Armor in 4A will also produce this effect.
  • Battlefield 3 features the tactical flashlight and laser sight. The latter is a red laser that is primarily used to boost the effectiveness of hip fire, but also causes an annoying red spotlight to cover the target's vision if it is aimed at them. The former, on the other hand, is purely used for blinding foes. By blinding foes, I mean melting the eyes of the person controlling the target to a molten liquid and setting their hair alight.
  • Call of Duty: Most iterations of the series features grenades that can blind your enemies (or yourself if carelessly used).
  • Counter-Strike: The flashbangs used by the Terrorists and Counter-Terrorists to blind one another.
  • In The Darkness, Jackie can't effectively use his powers in well-lit areas. A Dirty Cop figures out Jackie is vulnerable to bright lights and uses a combination of flashbang grenades and floodlights to incapacitate him.
    • Used against you quite a bit in The Darkness 2. You'll often have one of these thrown in to strip you of all your powers and then a follow up barrage of bullets just to ruin your day.
  • The flashlight in Dead by Daylight is used exclusively to blind the killer when pointed at his face. The hunter gets a pure white screen with only the HUD visible, and if they were carrying a survivor, they'll get stunned and drop them. Flashbangs and firecrackers are throwables that achieve the same effect, and Jill's Blast Mine both blinds and stuns a killer that kicks a generator that has one such mine planted.
  • Death in the Water grants you Flash Bangs, underwater flash grenades that disorientate sharks, octopuses and other creatures, long enough for you to blast them with your harpoon.
  • Dungeons & Dragons Online has the Flash Bang by name, a dazing and blinding grenade that allows a form of non-smoke Smoke Out for Ninja Spies.
  • Happens briefly early in Fallout 3, when your character leaves his underground vault for the first time.
    • Subverted if you nuke Megaton; the player and other characters observing the explosion, since they didn't have eye protection, should have been permanently blinded, or worse, had their eyes melted out of their sockets.
    • It only happens once in Fallout: New Vegas, when you first properly activate the Helios One facility, you get blinded for just one second.
  • In Final Fantasy VI, Edgar Figaro can wield the Tool "Flash," a camera with a flashbulb as big as he is. It deals unblockable, defense-ignoring non-elemental damage and inflicts the Blind status effect on enemies.
  • The opening cinematic of Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn has Michiah using her Light Magic to blind a group of Begnion soldiers trying to arrest her and Sothe.
  • God of War:
    • Perseus in God of War II uses his reflective shield to blind Kratos several times in his boss battle.
    • Aside from using it as a makeshift flashlight, Kratos can put Helios's severed head in God of War III to great use by blinding enemies with it. In fact, employing this strategy is how you're supposed to defeat Kronos the Titan.
    • God of War (PS4):
      • Magni and Modi's combination move, the Snowblind. Magni strikes his sword against Modi's shield, creating a huge wave of light blinding enemies. They can then attack Kratos from all angles.
      • And Svartáljǫfurr. His attacks can affect the player with the "Blinded" status effect.
  • One of the most useful pieces of special equipment in Gundam Breaker is flashbang grenades. A single throw hits in a wide area in front of the player and disables enemy mobile suits, leaving them unable to move, attack, or use skills. A single precise throw could disable an entire squad of enemies and leave them open to attack. Notbly, the actual blind effect is very brief—the true value of the weapon is the duration of its stun.
  • The Combine Charger in Half-Life: Alyx makes use of a shield-generating device which can also release a bright flash of light that temporarily impairs Alyx's vision.
  • Heroes of Might and Magic: Most iterations of the series have a spell called "Blind" that effectively works this way.
  • In Hitman 2, guards will throw flashbangs at you if you get into a firefight. 47 also has a few flashbang gadgets, such as the ICA flash phone and flash grenades of his own. 47 is also able to pick up enemy flashbang grenades if they're laying about in a level.
  • A staple of James Bond games, most notably NightFire and Everything or Nothing. Nightfire's flashbangs were a double-edged sword: if you didn't turn around, the screen would flood with white and obscure enemy fire.
  • Flashbangs are the grenades available to SWAT perk players in Killing Floor 2, which every one of them easily and quickly stuns zeds hit by it (while conveniently doing absolutely nothing to the thrower and his team)...unless they're a Scrake or Fleshpound that is enraged. You're probably going to need a few more of those then.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past: Lighting up the two torches temporary blinds Ganon for a moment, giving Link the perfect time to stun him.
    • One of the Zora Stone Monuments in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild talks of "The Miracle of the White Scale", where a former king was saved from a lethal blow in combat when his enemy was blinded by the sunlight reflecting off of a scale that his wife had woven into to his armor. It then became tradition for Zora princesses to craft armor for their intended husbands in honor of this event.
  • Luigi's Mansion: Luigi must use his flashlight to shock ghosts so that he may inhale them into his vacuum.
  • In Mass Effect 2, flashbang stun grenades are Kasumi's special power, unlocked once her loyalty mission is completed. With advanced training, Shepard can use these grenades as well. Donovan Hock's mercenary guards and the Shadow Broker's troops also make regular use of flashbangs. As a successful flashbang can not only stun you but also knock you out of cover, these minions can easily enter Demonic Spider territory.
  • In The Matrix: Path of Neo the SWAT teams use Flash-bangs against Neo and the other rebels to try to temporarily blind, disorient and confused them. Thus one of the in-universe reasons for Cool Shades.
  • MechWarrior: Some battlemechs in Mechwarrior Living Legends mount large spotlights on their shoulders, which can be used to blind players using the nightvision overlay when it's dark. When a destroyed mech goes nuclear, it sets off a huge, blinding mushroom butt which can be used for storming an enemy position if carefully timed. Particle Projector Cannons at night are blindingly bright, and have an EMP effect that temporarily disables the nightvision of whatever it hits.
    • Flares were a loadout option in 4, and could blind a player for quite a period of time regardless of night vision gear. They were removed from the game after trolls in multiplayer used masses of flares to crash other players' games.
  • Metal Gear:
    • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty: The first boss fight uses this against you. The arena has a spotlight that she'll shoot to shine in your face, which completely blinds First Person View mode, making her almost impossible to hit until you shoot the light out.
    • Metal Gear Solid V introduces gun-mounted flashlights that can briefly blind enemy guards when pointed at their faces, allowing you to get the drop on them.
  • In Metro 2033, this is a gameplay mechanic essential to beat the Plated Nosalises. Since they dwell on the least-lit parts of the Metro, shining the beam of your flashlight on them blinds them and makes them stand still long enough for you to get a few shots off. And you will need those few seconds of advantage.
  • Monster Hunter:
    • The Flash Bomb is a long-standing staple hunter's tool. Most monsters can be temporarily stunned with one and willy briefly attack randomly instead of targeting your hunter.
    • Some monsters have the ability to unleash a blinding flash of light that will stun hunters, like Gypceros from the original game and Tzitzi-Ya-Ku from Monster Hunter: World.
  • Stryker uses this to initialize his X-Ray attack in Mortal Kombat 9. Prior to initiating a beatdown with other standard-issue police weapons, Stryker forces his opponent to their knees by blinding them with a flashlight. Notably, this attack works on everyone, including supernatural demons, the already blind, and people wearing sunglasses.
  • Nancy Drew: In the ending of The Final Scene, you have only seconds to spare to switch on the marquee before the building gets demolished, but are stopped by Joseph. You have to use the "magic" ring you found to blind him.
  • Neverwinter Nights: Well, it is based on Dungeons & Dragons, after all...
  • Overwatch: McCree can throw a flashbang as one of his basic abilities. Any player within three metersnote  of its blast radius is stunned for a little less than a second.
  • In Paladins, Strix's ultimate, Flashbang, has him launching a grenade that obscures his enemies' vision for a few seconds.
  • In PAYDAY 2, the police throw flashbangs at you to blind your attempts at heisting.
  • This is the basis behind the Pokémon move Flash, which can be used in battle to drop the opponent's accuracy one stage. Of course, that doesn't mean it is used very often, what with several other moves being able to do this with more success, and the relatively low benefit reducing accuracy has in the game.
  • Rainbow Six Siege: Next to the usual flashbang grenades, the game features a GSG-9 operator that's equipped with a ballistic shield embedded with three rows of flashbangs, which enables the trooper to blind anyone who gets in front of his shield's periphery. Appropriately, his beta badge shows a Medusa and his callsign is "Blitz", German for lightning.
  • Flashbangs have been a feature in Resident Evil since the fourth main title in the series. Whatever isn't destroyed outright by the blast tends to be stunned still for a long time, and in 4, 5 and 6, ripe for a devastating melee attack or grab. In Resident Evil 2 (Remake), they're a defensive item used to get out of grabs as well, and even the blind Lickernote  and the unflappable Mr. X aren't immune.
  • Weaponized as a secondary function Spark Manbow in Rockman 4 Minus Infinity. If you hold up when you press the fire button, Mega Man holds up a lightbulb and causes a bright flash of light to cover the screen, which makes enemies stand still for a few seconds.
  • In Skylanders, Flashwing's Soul Gem move is a blinding lighthouse that can kill mooks. Not only that, but the trope name is actually her catchphrase!
  • In the second level of Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow, there's a courtyard overseen by a guard with night-vision goggles, so to avoid being seen, you have to be illuminated by the searchlights. The penultimate mission has periodic lightning flashes outdoors that temporarily blind Sam if his goggles are equipped.
  • Flashbang grenades are, appropriately enough, a common tool in your arsenal in SWAT 3 and SWAT 4. Just make sure you're out of the doorway when you use one and that your NPC teammates don't, y'know, just drop it at their fee—GAH! YOU FOOL!
  • In SYNTHETIK, you can use flash grenades to damage and disorient enemies. Make sure not to stare the explosion.
  • Flashbombs are a useful tool in Thief, where they can temporarily blind an enemy who has noticed you, enabling you to make a getaway. Repeated use of flashbombs can also kill undead.
  • Unfortunate Spacemen: A flashbang going off in a player's face causes their view to go solid white. This can be useful to the alien, as they can shapeshift while all the others are impaired.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines: When the Sheriff goes One-Winged Angel in his Boss Fight, the Player Character can use floodlights to stun his Bat Out of Hell form and force it to crash-land.
  • In Vindictus, the secondary weapon Light of Palala is a flash grenade which stuns most enemies for a few seconds, looking confused.
  • Excalibur in Warframe has a skill in which he unleashes a blast of light from his Exalted Blade that blinds enemies around them, stunning them and making them vulnerable to Finishers. Gara has a passive variant; stand in bright light and the refractions off her crystalline form can blind nearby enemies every few seconds, causing them to stagger away and cover their eyes.
  • Wizardry: The Blinding Flash spell in the final trilogy. Simple and very effective throughout the early through middle parts of the games.
  • World of Warcraft: PCs and bosses have abilities that can use light to completely incapacitate or at least hinder accuracy. A recurring element with bosses is the need to turn characters so they're facing away from the boss to avoid being blinded by the flash.
  • X-COM
    • XCOM: Enemy Unknown: The Enemy Within DLC gives the player the option to produce flashbang grenades as soon as Experimental Warfare is finished. It inflicts the Disoriented effect — dramatically reducing aim and mobility for a few turns — on enemies affected by the blast, doesn't affect allies, and unlike most items, it doesn't break invisibilitynote  when tossed. The two downsides are its blast radius is tiny (same size as a frag grenade's) and robotic and psionic enemies are totally immune to them, including your own MEC troopers and psionic units if they're hit with Mind Control.
    • Flashbangs make a return in XCOM 2, with a few changes. The blast radius is enormous, it does break concealmentnote  and disorientation from its blast also disables most special abilities, including Psychic Powers of psionic enemies. These make flashbangs a cheap and effective counter to organic enemies (and even a few robotic ones like Codices and Spectres) throughout the game, and a get-out-of-jail-free card if multiple pods are activated on accident.

    Web Comics 
  • The Beast Legion: Brilight uses this particular trick twice in Issue 4 against Dragos [1] , [2]
  • Bob and George: Someone tries to use this against Bob. Alas for him, Bob is wearing sunglasses.
  • Champions of Far'aus: Several light spells have this effect. Most of the runic/priest spells supplied by Hyperion have this effect, some of which are quite potent.
    Flamel: [covering his eyes] It’s like if you could turn on the sun!
  • In El Goonish Shive, judging by this strip it seems Tedd may have been experimenting with flashbang grenades or something that yielded similar effects and blew up his basement lab.
  • In Far from Home, pirates use high-intensity flares in missiles so as to take the heroes alive.
  • Girl Genius: Master Payne uses this tactic during his Circus's fight with the Monster Horse Beastie, but it doesn't seem to have much effect on the critter.
  • In Homestuck, the skin of rainbow drinkers brightly glow, and can turn this effect on and off. In one of the Paradox Space spin-offs, Kanaya suddenly does so in order to escape an awkward conversation.
  • Huckleberry: In battle, Morning Star uses his elemental light to dazzle opponents and shorten confrontations.
  • unOrdinary: Evie's "illumination" ability is low tier, so she makes the most of it by activating it with her hands over a bullies eyes forcing them to stumble and blink their way back to being able to see while Evie flees with her friends.

    Web Original 
  • Domina:
    • The vampires in this web-novel have eyes that can see perfectly in the dark, but are blinded by light. Vampires can operate during the day even without the big bulky goggles they normally wear, but they get headaches and they can't really see. Sudden flashes of bright light (such as an angel's daybreak) can actually knock them unconscious.
    • Inverted, actually, with the angels. They can see perfectly in bright light, to the point that they tend to stare directly at the sun when bored. However, they have basically zero ability to see in the dark, so they have to carry around nightvision goggles to even see in the shadows on a sunny day. Of course, they have the ability to emit bright light, so it's not really a big deal as long as they don't have to worry about blinding anyone.
  • DSBT InsaniT: Amber can blind her opponents by summoning a Quasar.
  • In Madness Combat 7.5, Deimos takes a flashbang to the face and stumbles blindly for a few seconds. Thankfully, Sanford covers his eyes in time and takes out the mooks who threw it before they have the time to shot them.

    Western Animation 
  • Big City Greens: In "Blood Moon", Cricket discovers the farm animals-turned-zombies from the blood moon don't like the light, and manages to hold them off by shining a flashlight in their faces. It doesn't last long, as the flashlight's battery soon burns out.
  • Bob's Burgers: In "Wag the Song", Jimmy Pesto installs a new metal awning for his restaurant, but it reflects the sun's light into Bob's Burgers. Out of desperation, Bob tries to reflect it back to Jimmy with the bathroom mirror, but he only manages to blind Jimmy's lackey Trevor.
  • The Deep: In "Colossal Squid", the Rover is attacked by a colossal squid: a creature that lives in the darkest depths of the ocean and has the largest eyes in nature. The Nektons are able to drive it off by turning the Aronnax's searclights on full power.
  • On The Dragon Prince, this is the most useful power of the glow toad Bait. On command, he can emit a powerful light that blinds opponents for several seconds, usually trigged by the phrase "Say hello to my little friend."
  • On on episode of The Fairly OddParents!, Timmy wishes for shiny teeth that cause this, which includes blinding Veronica. A few seasons later, a Lower-Deck Episode showed she was still blinded hours later.
  • In Gallavants, while searching for the runaway ant egg in the catacombs, Shando stumbles upon a mysterious bright object that blinds him, resulting in him aimlessly wandering the tunnels while singing the massive tearjerker "Memories of a Bright Brighter Day", until his vision returns.
  • In G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, Zartan hates sunlight, although just how much it pains him seems to be Depending on the Writer.
  • In the Gravity Falls short "Mabel's Guide to Color", Mabel tries to show Grunkle Stan a rainbow by reflecting one from the waterfall into the window of his office with a mirror. The results...were a bit more than what she was expecting.
    "Nothing brightens a dark room like light from a window! Time to open the wind- OH NO!!! WHY?!? WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?!?!"
  • James Bond Jr.: The Worm, who wears dark glasses as a measure against this. After getting them broken in "A Worm in the Apple", he gets hold of James' special dark-lensed camera glasses—But then James has IQ switch off the liquid crystals in them, turning them clear and blinding him.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In "It's About Time", Twilight Sparkle is scanning the skies with a telescope. She accidentally looks directly into the sun and is blinded in one eye. She has to wear an eye-patch for the rest of the episode so her eye can heal.
    • In "Inspiration Manifestation", Rarity turns the streets of Ponyville to gold. The sun reflects off it and blinds several citizens.
  • The Owl House: The Light Gluph can be weaponized in this way. In "The Intruder", the Owl Beast is susceptible to blinding flashes of light, which Eda and King exploit to subdue it and turn Eda back to her witch form.
  • On Peter Rabbit, in "Flooded Burrow", Peter Rabbit's mother uses this to get rid of the owl Old Brown.
  • In The Smurfs (1981) episode "Now You Smurf 'Em, Now You Don't", Papa Smurf used light shone through a magnifying lens into a magic crystal ball to blind the trolls digging tunnels underneath the Smurf Village to capture the Smurfs.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: In "Lair of Grievous" Kit Fisto's plan for ambushing Grievous included shining the bright lights from the clone troopers helmets into his eyes in the dark lair. While Grievous does squint and raise an arm to protect himself from the light it does not give them the advantage they were hoping for.
  • Star Wars Rebels: In "The Holocrons of Fate", the holocron fusion unleashes a brilliant white light that blinds everyone except Kanan, who, ironically enough, has his vision temporarily restored (albeit crudely) by the same light.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003). As part of a test, Michelangelo has to steal an object from the test area without getting caught by Leonardo. Leo set up a bunch of moving spotlights in the darkened room so that it's almost impossible to stay in the shadows. Mikey circumvents this by blinding Leo with a metal plate and stealing the object while he's blinded.
  • Used in Trollz when ogres are sensitive to light. Good thing Sapphire's spell misfired earlier and made her feet glow.
  • Winx Club: One episode in Season 4 had Stella blind Gantlos with a spell called "Universe of Light".
  • Work It Out Wombats!: In "Sparklepants," when Zadie shines her flashlight on the Sparklepants, Mr. E shouts that "Those infernal sparkling pants are blinding me!" This inspires Zadie to use the Sparklepants and flashlights to make a landing pad for Ellie.
  • Young Justice (2010). The mooks of Black Mantis are wearing image-intensifying helmets to enable them to see better underwater, so while fighting them on land Artemis fires a Trick Arrow that sets off a flare.

    Real Life 
  • World War I / World War II: Attacking out of the sun was a popular tactic for both fighters and dive-bombers.
  • During the age while armies still utilized campfires at night, it was not uncommon for those to be used as a means of deception. Merely looking at a light source at night temporarily ruins the eye's low light adjustments, meaning that while looking at such a campfire (or for that matter any other light source at night), it was impossible to actually see the people (if any) that existed around it; only the light source would be visible. Armies got pretty creative with this back in the day, from setting up false camps (the enemy won't know there's no one by the fire until it's too late), to lighting a minimal number of fires to hide their number (sometimes going as far as just one big fire; good luck guessing how many people are sharing it), to ordering the camp to make several times its number in flames. A cunning general may even combine the various methods, essentially rendering the enemy's attempts to scout his position at night futile or downright counterproductive. Even in warfare, there are uses for fire other than killing.
  • One of the armored vehicles used in the Normandy landings in World War II was essentially an outdated tank with the gun replaced with a very high intensity lamp, entirely encased in the turret save for a narrow vertical slit. The turret would pan back and forth, perodically painting the German defenses with blinding light to make it impossible for them to see the troops on the beaches. They also had various filters they could put onto the light while in action, so as to make it harder to determine how far away the vehicle was if you wanted to put its lights out. Unfortunately the weapon was so secret its use was minimal, as few officers were aware of its capabilities.
  • In World War II, the British "hid" the Suez Canal with an array of spotlights and shifting reflectors intended to dazzle the eyes of bomber pilots. When they tested it by having two British planes fly into the area, they found the effect disoriented the pilots so much that both planes nearly crashed — just from flashing lights. Best part? This was just one stunt thought up by Jasper Maskelyne, War Magician. Eventually, a chain of twenty-one searchlights covered the Suez Canal for its entire length. When illuminated, they created a curtain of swirling light over more than a hundred miles of Egyptian sky. In the following months enemy aircraft made a number of attempts to penetrate the curtain, and failed, and the canal remained open to Allied shipping throughout the war.
    • Or so he claimed in his biography — recent research has shown the dazzle weapon was never actually built except as a prototype.
  • The LED Incapacitator, a rather recent non-lethal weapon which works by creating a bright pulsing light with continuously changing colours to dazzle and disorient an opponent when violence is not permitted. Readers of The Final Programme may find this strangely familiar.
  • A more mundane example: pilots who fly at night have to avoid any bright lights for upwards of 20 or 30 minutes before a flight in order to maintain their night vision. Their cockpit lights are run at the lowest setting that lets them see their instruments, because any bright light will force them to start all over again trying to readjust to the darkness of night. As a result, airports will often actually be much more dimly lit than some folks might expect, as the last thing they want to do is to blind a pilot who is trying to take off or land.
    • Similar to the above, go out some night to visit a group of stargazers out doing their thing, and you will quickly learn that they do not like it when folks use any bright or white light near where they are stargazing. Stars are bright, but they are not that bright compared to closer light sources on Earth. The use of red-filtered light is common as it does not have the same negative effect on human night vision.note 
      • Several people have gotten arrested for shining their bright green laser pointers into the nighttime sky and dazzling or temporarily blinding pilots overhead. Particularly if the plane is taking off or landing. There was serious talk of outright banning the sale of laser pointers in Britain after someone used the same trick to make an oncoming car swerve off the road and hit a tree, and in Spain using them against pilots or drivers supposes a fine of up to €600,000.
    • Laser pointers can even cause permanent retinal damage.
  • The Protocol on Blinding Laser Weapons, Protocol IV of the 1980 Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, was issued by the United Nations on 13 October 1995. It came into force on 30 July 1998. This bans weapons that cause permanent blindness. Blinding as an incidental or collateral effect of the legitimate military employment of laser systems, including laser systems used against optical equipment, is not covered by the prohibition of this Protocol. It also defines blindness as an irreversible and uncorrectable loss of vision which is seriously disabling with no prospect of recovery. Serious disability is equivalent to visual acuity of less than 20/200 Snellen measured using both eyes. So "minor" permanent damage is not covered. Temporary damage is also not covered.
  • It is common for gun owners to equip their firearms with a flashlight attachment, with output usually above 200 lumens. Their utility is twofold - they help with target identification in low light, and when you turn the light on in the target's face at close range, it's hard-pressed to accurately return fire. Even the handheld models, if they surpass the 200 lumen minimum (and even as far back as 2011, even ones powered by at least two AA batteries can do it), can be used for self-defense in places where firearms and knives are more restricted.
  • Magnesium burns easily and very, very bright white, producing ultraviolet light as well. It can permanently damage the retinas; working with pure magnesium powder requires safety glasses with welder protection.
  • It is now believed by many that the so-called "heat ray" used by Archimedes to help defend Syracuse from the Romans in the 3rd century BC would not work to set fire to ships using parabolic mirrors. Instead, it is believed that Archimedes used the mirrors to blind the Romans, making them unable to fight effectively.
  • This is the reason that, in most jurisdictions, you are forbidden from driving with your high beams/brights on when there is oncoming traffic (i.e. if you are in a lane going one way and there are cars in the lane next to you going the other way). If you have your high beams on, the light could dazzle other drivers and cause an accident. Unfortunately, however, not all drivers realize this.
    • In order to increase visibility of motorcycles, their headlights are turned on permnanently. Some riders however, take this a step further and turn on the high beams as well (at least during daytime riding). Though there's some debate on how effective this really is and if this could potentially be a safety hazard for other drivers.
  • A stun grenade, or flashbang, is a grenade that emits both a blinding light and deafening noise - so much, that looking away from them as they go off really isn't going to help if it's anywhere near you (plus the deafening noise from up close will leave you so woozy you barely able to stand and walk even if you weren't blinded), especially in a room that will reflect the light anyway as grenades are liable to be used with. They are designed to non-lethally incapacitate a foe (though they can cause permanent damage). Used by everyone from your local SWAT team to special forces like the Navy Seals and SAS.

Alternative Title(s): Flashbang Grenades


Alina Escapes the Crows

Alina briefly blinds Jesper and Kaz with her light powers after they threaten her.

How well does it match the trope?

4.6 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / BlindedByTheLight

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