Sanjukta Jana, B.Optom.

NSHM Knowledge Campus Kolkata, India


Figure 1 : Pneuma – Collaboration of Light And Air Makes Magical Perception

Pneuma (a Greek word meaning breath) is a familiar, recognisable voice that has the potential to drive life. It is a crossroad for physical, physiological, and psychological phenomena. There are various phenomena involved in intentionality, schematisation, habituation, and role play in various senses. The sole purpose of this blog is to discuss the involvement of pneuma in a visual sense.

Galen’s Theory of Vision

Galen’s Theory of Vision says ‘Pneuma’ originated in the brain and fills the anterior chamber. The visual stream emanating from our eyes consists of fine particles. In normal vision, the pneuma passed from the eye to objects at a distance so that they might be observed. A deficiency in pneuma reduced the ability to perceive distant objects. This was considered the reason for myopia. (1)

Galen used the analogy of the effect of sunlight on the air; just like the sunlight touches the upper limit of the air and transmits its power to the furthest distance.

Aristotle’s Concept of Pneuma

Aristotle offered an interpretation which states that the visual body coalesces with influences from visual objects somewhere between our eyes and the objects we see. Pneuma proves life is not dualistic and non-reductionist. It can be regulated. Pneuma is proto-phenomenological.

Plato’s Theory

Plato’s theory of vision claimed light emerging from our eyes meets midway with the light emerging from the visible object. Plato’s derivations were presented by Theophrastus, which found the basis of evidence of pneuma in modern studies. (1)

Theophrastus presented Plato’s theory of colour

Colour is a flame from the body which has parts commensurate with vision. White is what divides vision and black is what compresses it. Now the parts that move from other bodies and impinge on the visual body are in some cases smaller, in others larger while in the left-out cases, it is of equal size. Those that are equal are called transparent. Thus, he explained that the vision is the result of the effluent from a visual object, mainly its colour.

Evidence of Pneuma in modern studies

Unmanned Aerial systems primarily used for traffic monitoring purposes have been instrumental in pneuma experiments. Time-space diagrams help track congestion in roads by detecting pneuma emitted by the vehicle. The spatiotemporal traffic dynamics can be figured out by studying the distribution of pneuma particles. (2)
However, this synthetic database which is encoded and decoded based on a vehicle’s movement in a data set, cannot fully represent reality. (2) The pneuma dataset which is used in drones contains an extensive source of urban trajectory data.

Visual shreds of evidence of pneuma can resolve traffic problems involving vast areas. It includes visual information through which the position of vehicles in image coordinates can be discovered. Pneuma is an integrated summation of trajectory data. To maximise the applicability of this data, proper storage, arrangement, and mapping are important.

Figure 2: Pneuma Trajectories

Clinical Aspects of Pneuma in Ophthalmology

The image of sight is considered a function of pneuma flowing forth from brain to eyes through hollow optic nerves. When light reaches the photosensitive layer of eye i.e., retina specialised cells called photoreceptors turn the light into electrical signals. In ophthalmic investigations, it has been found that visual signals are carried by an optic nerve from the eyes to the brain in the form of electric signals. (3)  The presence of electrical impulses was regarded as magical particles descending from brain to eyes, passing through the centre of eye as crystalline humour, through which it emerges as visual spirit. As we know there exists triple web between nerves, veins, and arteries hence there is significant role of these particles in chemosis or congestion. (4)

Figure 3: Showing the optic nerve and its associations with other parts of eyes thus encouraging signal processing

Pneuma is composed of active elements. Pneuma’s role in the body is an active cause of development. Its role in any deformities or disease shows that its existence is not restricted to infancy or up to adolescence. It provides coherence. (4)

The ideas concerning the existence of pneuma have shed light into questions regarding physiology and diagnostics. There is conflict of ideas amongst eye care professionals regarding this thus creating a platform for scholarly debate.



  1. Preface. Rhizomata. 2019;7(2): 119-119.
  2. Moreno-Camacho CA, Montoya-Torres JR, Jaegler A, Gondran N. Sustainability metrics for real case applications of the supply chain network design problem: A systematic literature review. Journal of cleaner production. 2019 Sep 10;231:600-18.
  3. History of eye.
    [Last Accessed – 05th Jul 2023; 09:04pm AEST]
  4. Bouras-Vallianatos P. Theories on Pneuma in the Work of the Late Byzantine Physician John Zacharias Aktouarios. The Concept of Pneuma a er Aristotle. 2020 Dec 31:365.

Image Courtesy

Figure 1: Pinterest.
Figure 2: EPFL.
Figure 3 : Reeves C, Taylor D. A history of the optic nerve and its diseases. Eye. 2004 Nov;18(11):1096-109.