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Can't See a Damn Thing

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When Sunglasses at Night is problematic.

The person involved is effectively blind, either because of environmental conditions (their windshield is covered with snow or mud), someone blinded them (by light or throwing something in their eyes), or they've lost their means to see (lost glasses, lost visual device.) The examples should only be of either blindness or of serious inability to see.

Tropes that involve this problem:

In Video Games, a zero or low visibility level is a form of Interface Screw where your video output device is essentially disabled for a while, requiring you to either obtain means of producing light or to fly blind.


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  • A man says to his wife, "Hey, maw, I'm hungry after driving all day. I'm gonna pull into that diner." Woman responds, "Paw, that's no diner, that's a school bus!" Cue jingle for the advertiser: a maker of windshield wipers.
  • In an ad for eyeglasses, a woman yells out, "Taxi!", gets in the vehicle, tells the driver to go somewhere (avoiding a certain very busy street), and the camera pulls back in a Jump Cut to show she's in a police car.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Andhadhun, Simi blinds Akash (who had up to this point faked being blind) for real by poisoning him.
  • In The Cannonball Run, Mel and Terry and driving into the hotel parking lot at high speed when their hood flies open and obscures their windscreen. One of them says "I can't see shit! Can you?" just before they drive into the swimming pool.
  • Django Unchained features a scene with a group of pre-KKK lynchers arguing over the misplaced eye holes in the bags they're wearing on their heads.
  • A New Hope: Luke Skywalker remarks in an improvised line that he can't see a thing out of his Stormtrooper helmet while infiltrating the Death Star. Fans amusingly point out this scene to explain Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy.
    • Also when Obi-Wan begins teaching him to use the Force, Luke puts on the helmet and asks: "With the blast-shield down, I can't even see - how am I supposed to fight?"
  • In Imagination, Sarah Woodruff is legally blind and can't see past the end of her nose. She is expected to be completely blind in a few years.

  • Danny, the Champion of the World: The basis of Danny's father's favourite method of poaching pheasants, known as "The Sticky Hat": a paper hat has the inside smeared with glue and a few raisins dropped inside, with a trail of raisins leading up to it. The idea is that the pheasant puts his head inside to gobble up the raisins, gets the hat stuck on his head, and he will not run away because he can't see.
  • In Experimental Film, Giscelia Wròbl was blinded for some weeks after her encounter with Lady Midday as a child. Lois is almost completely blinded after Sidlo helps her connect to Mrs. Whitcomb and Lady Midday, and because she refuses to do Lady Midday's work, this time it sticks - she is expected to be legally blind for the rest of her life, although her vision slowly improves over the years.
  • In Five go down to the Sea from The Famous Five, Julian and Dick try on a stage horse costume, which has eye-holes in the neck. But when this goes very wrong, Julian cannot get the eye-holes in the right place, leaving him "absolutely blind".
  • In his autobiography Going Solo, Roald Dahl describes being blinded when he crashed his fighter plane, which then caught fire, and he had to free himself. His eyes were not damaged beneath his facial injuries, so he regained his sight later.
    I was in two worlds. Both worlds were pitch-black, but one was burning hot, and the other was not.
  • In Hansel and Gretel, the wicked witch has such bad eyesight that she cannot see that Hansel is holding out a bone instead of his finger.
  • The Real Boy has children coming down with a variety of bizarre ailments, including one boy who wakes up deaf and blind.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the UK series of Big Brother, one housemate Mikey was very partially-sighted. The other housemates had a task of taking turns to be blindfolded for several hours.
  • Fort Boyard: The Labyrinth challenge, in which the contestant has to feel their way through a completely dark maze, wearing a special helmet so they can hear their team guiding them, and their team can see them through a night-vision camera.
  • A MythBusters episode testing the "dust kidnapping" scene from Body of Lies had them testing a safety system by obscuring their view in front (to simulate the dust that they would encounter). Unfortunately, their first "blinding" method (an opaque paper) worked too well; instead of the 10% visibility they were going for, they basically had zero visibility. Their safety system failed as a result. Their second method, using burlap sacks, gave them the required visibility level, and they were able to stay on course with the help of the safety system.
  • In the Thunderbirds episode "Martian Invasion", the Hood tries to escape from Scott's pursuit in a light aircraft, which billows out smoke in the cockpit, causing him to mutter "I can't see", and to crash the plane into a house.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Pathfinder, magic spells like Darkness and Deeper Darkness are common means of enforcing zero visibility within a limited area, although there are numerous counters to them, from some species' inherent darkvision to spells like Daylight.
    • On of the levels of the Emerald Spire Superdungeon is entirely shrouded in permanent magical Darkness, rendering regular lights like torches useless, while all the monsters in it have darkvision.
  • The game Visionary requires one player to build a structure from wooden blocks while blindfolded, following instructions from another player.

    Video Games 
  • The Witcher has several underground levels with zero light sources, rendered in such a way that even setting your monitor's contrast to the max still showed just darkness. The proper way to deal with this is by mixing a Cat potion, which gives Geralt low-light vision.
  • Dark Souls has the Tomb of the Giants: an entire level mostly shrouded in impenetrable darkness (and populated by giant aggressive skeletons). The only ways to safely navigate this level is by acquiring one of two light-producing items in the game or to cast a light-emitting sorcery.
  • The Cat Lady has a brief segment where Susan is blinded by the villains, so the player's screen is blacked out while they navigate her blindly to find the gun one of the bad guys left behind and shoot herself (since Susan has Resurrective Immortality, she comes back to life in full health immediately).
  • Paganitzu: Level 17 of the first game begins in a dark room. Wandering into the area full of spiders is a death trap, but it is possible to light the room by moving the right place.
  • Rogue: Quaffing a potion of blindness would bring the message "A cloak of darkness falls around you". It was still possible to move about, but you would have to try different directions to find doors. Monsters would be referred to as "it". The effect would lift after a long time, or by quaffing a potion of healing, or see invisible.
  • StarCraft: In the expansion, the Medic's Optic Flare induces this in units, reducing their sight range to nil, and more importantly, neutralizing their detecting abilities (please ignore that some of these abilities are explicitly provided by technological or psychic means).
  • In Phantasy Star I, some dungeons are pitch dark when you enter them. Without an item to serve as a light source, you cannot proceed any further into them.
  • In Dragon Quest I, dungeons are normally pitch dark, such that you can only see your character's sprite when you enter them. A torch can be used to illuminate the darkness, but even then, only spaces adjacent to you will be revealed.

    Western Animation 
  • This is the entire premise of the Mr. Magoo series of cartoons; the eponymous protagonist confuses all sorts of (often dangerous) things for other things because of his near blindness, yet always comes out unscathed.
  • An episode of The Flintstones has Fred going to the circus and becoming the star performer, because he walked out into the performer's area and got into the act. The reason he's doing this is that he is wearing not the glasses he was prescribed, but accidentally took the optometrist's glasses instead, and is wearing them by mistake (and the optometrist's uncorrected vision is a lot worse).
  • In Futurama, Leela's one eye is injured, and she has to wear an eye patch. Unable to see, she believes she is successfully piloting the craft, but she is holding Nibbler's feeding bowl instead of the control wheel.
    Leela: Eyesight is for chumps.