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Temporary Blindness

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The hero(ine) of an action/adventure series is blinded at the beginning of the episode. The character is told that the damage will heal, provided he does not do any action/adventure heroic things for the next hour. Since the viewer did not tune in to watch the hero convalesce, the plot goes on.
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A supporting character helps the hero get used to his condition. Often, the blinded character's other senses will become much more acute. Unfortunately, the villain of the story sometimes discovers the hero's condition and instantly realizes he now has an overwhelming advantage. However, the hero may still win because the villain usually underestimates how well he has adjusted to his situation — in some cases, the temporary disability may actually give the hero a useful advantage.

An almost identical plot structure can be used with temporary paralysis, deafness, concussions, etc. Similar but not the same as the Status Effects, as this trope uses blindness for plot reasons.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The Prince of Tennis has two instances of this. Early on, the main character, Ryoma Echizen, nearly permanently blinds himself after his own racket breaks and ricochets into his eyelid. Due to excessive bleeding, he is given a ten-minute time limit for finishing the match, and with three minutes left, finally gets serious and wins. Much later, Fuji, from the same team, breaks concentration and has a ball slammed into the side of his head, somehow blinding him. Not one to give up a match, he continues, though his opponent quickly grasps the situation and starts to make a comeback. Fuji then somehow surpasses his own limits and is able to "feel" the presence of the ball, making for a ridiculous victory.
  • In Slam Dunk, Rukawa plays a good part of the Toyotama match blinded after a Jerk Jock player elbows him on the head.
  • Rurouni Kenshin:
    • In the manga, during his days as a hitokiri, some guys tried to take him out by using tricks to weaken his sight and hearing. He was still able to kill them even with barely functioning senses, but did have a little more trouble than usual. And his wife Tomoe died in the mess.
    • In the anime, Kenshin also was temporarily blinded during his fight with Shougo Amakusa. He recovers his sight later. Note that Shougo has blinded his own uncle and teacher several years later, and the poor man never recovered his sight, so...
  • In Dragon Ball GT, Goku becomes blind when Eis Shenron claws his eyes; he regains his sight later on.
  • In Himitsu no Akko-chan the titular heroine, in the deaf variant of his trope, upon meeting a new deaf kid at her school, uses her magic mirror wish herself deaf and mute, thus empathizing better with the kid. In a rather scary moment of Fridge Brilliance, Akko-chan realizes that — having wished herself to go mute as well — she's unable to hit the Reset Button by asking the mirror, which only responds to verbal commands, to make her normal again. The Reset Button presses itself anyway, but not before some days of Wangst and the usual Aesop.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Roy Mustang is forced to open the Gate and loses his eyesight as a toll. He still takes part in the final battle, with Hawkeye guiding him. When it's all over, he regains his eyesight thanks to Dr. Marcoh and his philosopher's stone.
  • In Basara, Sarasa becomes temporary blind and must go to Okinawa to see a healer. This disability is very important to the Okinawa story arc. Because of this, Asagi tries to abuse her. In Okinawa, she witnesses a crime but can only identify the voice of the murder.
  • In Inuyasha, the titular character is blinded by Sesshomaru's poisonous claws. This helps Inuyasha to master his Wind Scar attack since it requires one to locate the spot where demonic aura of the user and the opponent collide. This is easier to do by using one's sense of smell and since Inuyasha couldn't see anything at all at the time... With the help of his Healing Factor, he later makes a full recovery from his temporary blindness.

    Comic Books 
  • In Birds of Prey, when Jason Bard tried to save Black Canary, and they were caught in the act, a gun going off in his face blinded him. Because the villain had no reason to spare him, Black Canary insisted on escaping with him despite his blindness; his training makes him reasonably good at supporting her despite his condition, and at the end, it is revealed that medical treatment can restore his sight.
  • Superman suffered incredibly blurry vision for a time when he arrived in 1943 during his time-traveling adventures in Time and Time Again.
  • Daredevil:
    • An issue had Matt Murdock temporarily lose his enhanced senses. He Got Better. Daredevil: Black and White featured a total inversion of the trope, however — Daredevil is given sight by experimental surgery, but it fades away before long. Good thing it was All Just a Dream.
    • Another inversion of the trope occurs in the pages of Superior Iron Man: After Matt confronts him over his recent actions, Tony uses the Extremis virus he infected San Francisco with to restore Matt's eyesight but tells him it'll only last for a few hours, though he'd be willing to cut a deal with Matt to make it permanent. Naturally, Matt turns it down, though he does manage to actually see his friend Foggy just as his eyesight starts fading again.
    • There was a short story arc in Spider-Man in which he went blind. Daredevil helped him use his Spider-Sense in order to navigate.
    • Once, Daredevil and Spider-Man had teamed up and the villain brought out his trump card: he used a device that blinds the target on Daredevil. Spidey pretty much felt sorry for the poor guy when Daredevil let him have it. (It is not common knowledge to non-heroes that Daredevil is blind.)
  • Red Hulk's eyes get gouged by Wolverine during a fight in Hulk #15 — he's blinded but he's fully aware his healing factor will restore his sight.
  • A lengthier than usual example happened in Cloak and Dagger, in which Dagger stayed blind for a full year; a fair amount of page space was devoted to her learning to cope.
  • Similarly, Wonder Woman experienced a bout of blindness in one mini-arc of her own series. A variation in that she intentionally did it to herself so she could fight a Gorgon without getting turned to stone.
  • There's a miniseries in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, Vader's Quest, in which Luke is blinded when he goes into a cave full of light-amplifying crystals and ignites his lightsaber in response to a threat. Gasping "A J-Jedi doesn't... need eyes!" he then fights off over a dozen people who weren't blinded, without killing them. He's more cautious for the duration of his blindness, but with the Force, he doesn't have to adjust too much.
  • Happened in three separate issues of Conan the Barbarian during The '80s.
  • One of the many afflictions faced by gunslinger Jonah Hex in his career (in Weird Western Tales #24). Another storyline had him thrown from a wagon with the resultant jarring of his spine leaving him temporarily paralyzed from the waist down.

    Fan Works 
  • Temporary blindness is also a common plot device in Hurt Comfort Fics.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya goes almost blind in one eye in episode 1 of the Pretty Cure-style reboot, SOS Pretty Cure, and is paralyzed from the waist down in episode 3. Both times she recovers completely.
  • Rainbow Dash gets hit with this in Waking Nightmares.
  • Early on in Naruto Veangance Revelations, Taliana is blinded, but it never gets referenced again after that.
  • In the Discworld fic Nature Studies, student Assassin Catherine Perry-Bowen is blinded and disfigured by an enraged rogue baboon. Both Catherine and her teachers are sure she will be permanently blinded and will have to leave the Assassins' School. But this is Ankh-Morpork. Which has Igors. The sequel There's Nothing Like A Fresh Pair Of Eyes revisits Catherine as an Ascended Extra. She is seen recovering from Igor transplant surgery. But nobody expected the occult side-effects of her new eyes...
  • Gensokyo 20XX:
    • We have this with an age-regressed Reimu, in the aftermath of her eating rat poison and the resulting brain damage thereof during the events of chapter 24 and didn't regain her sight until about 24 chapters later.
    • Earlier in the series, we had this with Chen when she was blinded out of mercy during the events of 20XXI and didn't regain her sight until 20XXIV. In that vein, we had Yukari near-blind the which she didn't recover from until about the end of 20XXIV.
    • So far, Miko hasn't displayed any signs of recovery.
  • In the fic I Never Really Knew, Ryuuko's vision loss is the first sign that there is something wrong and said blindness is caused by a brain tumor. When said tumor is removed, some of the other symptoms associated go away but Ryuuko's blindness doesn't, so she's left visually impaired. However, while there's a chance, no one can say if her sight will fully come back, given how big the tumor was and how long her sight had been gone.
  • The Supermen, a Resident Evil/Justice League of America crossover, has Wesker survive the events of Resident Evil 5, but only just. Temporary blindness from the missile explosion (he ducked before they could hit him but was still in the blast radius) is just one of his many injuries. It heals eventually, although as of Chapter 2 (the fic is still in progress) his vision is only partly restored.
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    Films — Animation 
  • Wonder Woman: Bloodlines: Diana blinds herself to face off against Medusa without being petrified and later her vision is restored.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, Han Solo is temporarily blinded after being freed from the carbonite, and takes part in the battle against Jabba almost completely blind, just proving what a badass he is.
  • In The Box, the son of the main characters is deafened and blinded. The writers go on to suggest that one of his parents (both mostly innocent) murdering the other and being imprisoned to reverse his new disability is the heroic and upright thing to do. In other words, the message of the writers is that homicide is preferable to living with a disability. This film was fortunately and probably not coincidentally Richard Kelly's last work as of 2019.
  • In Death Spa, Laura is temporarily blinded when the chlorine pumped into the Sauna of Death burns her eyes and spends most of the film with her eyes bandaged. This leads to her being unaware of things like David stalking through the house, or Marci's body being stuffed into her locker. She regains her sight just in time for the climax.

    Literature 
  • In The Last Church, the last place of worship on Earth, the Church of the Lightning Stone, was founded on a miracle where a blind man had his eyesight restored after a freak thunderstorm dislodged a massive hematite pillar with a lightning bolt. The sheer force of the strike not only tore off the titular Lightning Stone, but cured the man of his blindness - with the first sight being a vision of God. The Church's last visitor, a man calling himself "Revelation", refutes this, saying that the stone was broken off by erosion and that the founder's "miracle" was just a religious and imaginative man being shocked out of an extreme case of hysterical blindness.
  • In The Warrior's Apprentice, Elli Quinn has her face burned off during a space battle. Thanks to future space medicine, she only loses sight while waiting for her reconstructive surgery, as her skinless face is bandaged in the interim. When her boss is accosted, she subdues the attacker by locating him with sound. Justified by the fact that she practices fighting blindfolded to improve her balance.
  • In the novel Blindness, this happens to an entire (unnamed) country, progressively, but for one woman. The "blindness" in question is unusual: milky-white instead of pitch-black. Needless to say, civilization crumbles in it.
  • Jaina Solo, Han's daughter and a Jedi pilot, gets temporarily blinded at the start of one book of the New Jedi Order. She's a Jedi in a 'verse with high enough tech to get over that kind of thing, but she was still not allowed to fly until she'd healed. The main impact of it on that book's plot was to cause angst for her parents.
  • A major beat of the fourth Cut and Run book, Divide and Conquer, is that Zane is blinded after being caught in an explosion, unexpectedly baring some stark personal and relationship issues for both himself and his partner. Not to mention causing the bomber's accomplice to have a moment of clarity when he encounters Zane and realizes his condition is their fault.
  • Averted in one Tommy and Tuppence story, where Tommy is pretending to be blind (complete with shades and cane) for reasons that made sense at the time. He's caught by the villain, who gloatingly puts him in a room where an electrical system will kill him at the slightest contact. A seeing person would have no problem navigating it, of course, hence the villain's complete breakdown when Tommy does just that.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Happens to Arya Stark as part of her training as a Faceless Man, so she can learn to get around and fight without seeing. Her instructors then remove this, but then render her temporarily deaf, then temporarily crippled...
  • In his Paradiso, Dante loses his sight for some time after his reunion with Beatrice. He was so eager to see her again he didn't avert his eyes from her radiant soul until the virtues made him.
  • This trope kicks off the whole plot of The Day of the Triffids. The story begins the day the protagonist is expecting to finally regain his sight, only to discover he's quite literally Slept Through the Apocalypse.
  • In Worm, Skitter is blinded for about one (extremely action-packed) day. She gets by using her swarm-sense, so it doesn't actually limit her very much. Since she also wears a mask, she is able to hide it quite easily, leading to shocked reactions when casually mentions she's been blind the whole time.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • WWE has used this as the focal point of angles several times:
    • Jake "The Snake" Roberts was blinded for several months after "The Model" Rick Martel sprayed cologne in his eyes, and the two had a feud leading into a Blindfold match, in which both men were blindfolded to make things fair.
    • Nidia was blinded by Tajiri with a mysterious black mist, and her boyfriend, Jamie Noble, subsequently took advantage of this by putting her in harm's way to win matches.
  • Heel wrestlers will often use some type of substance to blind their unwary face opponents (or sometimes, even jobbers) to gain a tainted victory or - if they were the champion - keep their title by deliberately getting disqualified. Foreign Wrestling Heels, especially Asian ones, would use "salt" (actually, talcum powder that caused no irritation of the eyes) and throw it in the opponent's eyes, while during his first run as a heel, The Undertaker used ash from Paul Bearer's urn to "urn" victories. Heel wrestlers were also known to throw "fireballs," a trick Jerry Lawler was quite expert at back in the day, while during his 1987 run in the WWF, Killer Khan spits "green mist" in his opponent's eyes. However, it was not uncommon for this tactic to backfire for the heels — a face wrestler would duck at the last second and the salt would land in the Asian wrestler's tag team partner's eyes instead, Hulk Hogan would grab Bearer's urn and throw the ash in Undertaker's eyes (or several times, he'd catch Khan's mist and then rub it in Khan's eyes), the opponent would gain a second wind and either No-Sell the "salt in the eyes" or roll up the Asian opponent just after the throw ... the list goes on.
  • Happened for real in ECW to New Jack after a botch.
  • CM Punk at the hands of Jimmy Rave and The Embassy.
  • In the Mid-South territory, the Junkyard Dog was blinded by the Fabulous Freebirds. As this took place at a time when kayfabe was strictly enforced and the wrestlers NEVER acknowledged wrestling was anything but real, during one show when a "blind" JYD was confronted by the Freebirds at ringside, a fan jumped over the guardrail, drew a gun on the Freebirds and told JYD he had his back.

    Radio 
  • Alien Worlds had a case of temporary blindness happen in the "ISA Conspiracy" three-parter, where Maura Cassidy is blinded by the Chrell to try and persuade her into telling them where the statue of their god Narl is. She eventually has her sight restored by the Deitons.
  • Australian radio duo Hamish and Andy gave up a sense each for fifty hours. Hamish had his ears blocked off, but Andy was blinded. He ended up having a panic attack and called it the loneliest, most confusing and isolating fifty hours of his life.
  • The Lone Ranger was shot in the throat and rendered temporarily mute in the 1940s radio serial. For several subsequent episodes, the Lone Ranger was unable to speak above a hoarse whisper while Tonto carried the plot. This was a case of Real Life Writes the Plot since voice actor Earle Graser had died suddenly in a car accident. After five episodes of gradual recovery, Brace Beemer was the new voice of the Lone Ranger.

    Religion 
  • Making this trope Older Than Feudalism, in The Bible, Tobit is blinded when bird droppings fell in his eyes. His son Tobiah sets off to search for a cure and is joined by the Archangel Raphael in disguise. After they free a girl named Sarah from the curse that killed her seven husbands in their wedding nights and Tobiah marries her, Raphael tells him how to cure his dad.
    • In the New Testament, a Jewish man named Saul was blinded for several days after his he had a certain encounter on the road to Damascus. He then had a Heel–Face Turn and became Paul of Tarsus.

    Video Games 
  • A quest in Darkstone involves a priest being blinded, and the first step of the quest involves restoring his sight.
  • The Dungeon Of Doom has "blindness potion" as a Poison Mushroom. Until it wears off, the gameworld is pitch black.
  • Kingdom of Loathing has a "temporary blindness" effect, which is caused by drinking moonshine, among other things. It's required in order to fight Hard Mode Falls-From-Sky.
  • Mystia Lorelei, the night-sparrow youkai, can inflict night-blindness with her singing. She uses it to turn a profit with her well-lit grilled-lamprey stand by inflicting passers-by with night-blindness, then lifting the effect as they eat her grilled lamprey.
  • Unhappy Ever After: Gretel has the "Dust Cloud" affinity, which allows her to throw dust into an enemy's eyes, temporarily blinding them and increasing their chances to cause their attacks to miss their intended target.
  • In XCOM 2, the Assassin's special grenades cause blindness. If you select a Blinded unit, you can see that the whole map beyond about 5 tiles is a dark mist, making them unable to engage anything that is not VERY close.

    Webcomics 
  • In Gifts of Wandering Ice Kalare lost her sight to an explosion during one of her experiments. She has to rely on her apprentice's - Elie - help until her eyes are healed.
  • In Kevin & Kell, Tammy the moth stared too long at the light from Ray the firefly, resulting in corneal burns in all 3,000 eyes. Unsure whether she would recover, the two bonded on a much less superficial level than before, Tammy gaining love and respect for him. When she could see again, she said she saw Ray "for the first time."
  • A bored Sydney in Unintentionally Pretentious buys white Naruto-style contact lenses from Luthor's store to temporarily blind herself in order to relate to her blind roommate better. And later for her Toph cosplay.

    Real Life 
  • Happened to Rufus Wainwright during a drug binge in the early 2000s.
  • Until November 2010, Mila Kunis had a medical condition that rendered her blind in one eye. That condition was easily fixed, restoring sight to that eye.
  • A young Adolf Hitler was temporarily blinded by mustard gas during World War I. This is probably the reason he refused to approve the use of chemical weapons during World War II, even during the final days of the war when he was pinning all his hopes on "superweapons" — proof that there was at least one thing that even Hitler wouldn't stoop to.
  • Soldiers are sometimes trained to disassemble, clean/unjam and reassemble weapons, or to refill and merge partially expended ammunition magazines while blindfolded. This is to allow soldiers who have their vision impaired by sand in their eyes or non-life-threatening injuries to keep being useful to their unit in a combat situation.

 
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Blind As a Bee

Owen overworks himself to the point he has a headache that affects his vision. He sees his optometrist where she gives him eyedrops that helps his eyes but blurs his vision, and he has to wear huge, dark sunglasses to cover his eyes until they recover. This results in him bumping into things and people.

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