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is a garment, usually of cloth, tied to one's head to cover the eye
The human eye is an organ which reacts to light for several purposes. As a conscious sense organ, the eye allows vision. Rod and cone cells in the retina allow conscious light perception and vision including color differentiation and the perception of depth...
s to disable the wearer's sight
Visual perception is the ability to interpret information and surroundings from the effects of visible light reaching the eye. The resulting perception is also known as eyesight, sight, or vision...
. It can be worn when the eyes are in a closed state and thus prevents the wearer from opening them . While a properly fitted blindfold prevents sight even if the eyes are open, a poorly made or trick blindfold may let the wearer see around or even through the blindfold.
Blindfolds can be used in various applications:
- As a sleep mask: They block out light when sleeping, especially during air travel
Air travel is a form of travel in vehicles such as airplanes, helicopters, hot air balloons, blimps, gliders, hang gliding, parachuting or anything else that can sustain flight.-Domestic and international flights:...
, or for those who sleep during the day. It is believed that shutting out light allows the user to achieve a deeper level of sleep. They can also provide relief from claustrophobia
Claustrophobia is the fear of having no escape and being closed in small spaces or rooms...
for magnetic resonance imaging
Magnetic resonance imaging , nuclear magnetic resonance imaging , or magnetic resonance tomography is a medical imaging technique used in radiology to visualize detailed internal structures...
(MRI) patients. Glaucoma patients should avoid using these.
- In children's games, such as Pin the Tail on the Donkey
Pin the Tail on the Donkey is a game played by groups of children. It is common at birthday parties and other gatherings. A picture of a donkey with a missing tail is tacked to a wall within easy reach of children....
and when hitting a piñata
A piñata is a papier-mâché or other type of container that is decorated, filled with toys and or candy and then broken as part of a ceremony or celebration. Piñatas are most commonly associated with Mexico, but its origins are considered to be in China...
- During both martial arts
Martial arts are extensive systems of codified practices and traditions of combat, practiced for a variety of reasons, including self-defense, competition, physical health and fitness, as well as mental and spiritual development....
and weight lifting
Weight training is a common type of strength training for developing the strength and size of skeletal muscles. It uses the weight force of gravity to oppose the force generated by muscle through concentric or eccentric contraction...
to encourage reliance on other senses, such as touch or hearing.
- As a sensory deprivation
Sensory deprivation or perceptual isolation is the deliberate reduction or removal of stimuli from one or more of the senses. Simple devices such as blindfolds or hoods and earmuffs can cut off sight and hearing respectively, while more complex devices can also cut off the sense of smell, touch,...
tool in meditation
Meditation is any form of a family of practices in which practitioners train their minds or self-induce a mode of consciousness to realize some benefit....
(to focus attention on oneself rather than outside imagery).
- A kidnapping
In criminal law, kidnapping is the taking away or transportation of a person against that person's will, usually to hold the person in false imprisonment, a confinement without legal authority...
A hostage is a person or entity which is held by a captor. The original definition meant that this was handed over by one of two belligerent parties to the other or seized as security for the carrying out of an agreement, or as a preventive measure against certain acts of war...
, prisoner, etc. may be blindfolded to avoid identification of location(s) or people. (A common alternative to this usage is the use of a hood
A hood is a kind of headgear that covers most of the head and neck and sometimes the face. They may be worn for protection from the environment, for fashion, as a form of traditional dress or uniform, to prevent the wearer from seeing or to prevent the wearer from being identified.-History and...
- Before sunglasses
Sunglasses or sun glasses are a form of protective eyewear designed primarily to prevent bright sunlight and high-energy visible light from damaging or discomforting the eyes. They can sometimes also function as a visual aid, as variously termed spectacles or glasses exist, featuring lenses that...
, they were worn as the primary facial cover for those who could not see. This usage, though uncommon, is still practised in modern times.
- Before executions, to prevent the prisoner from seeing what is happening to him, and panicking.
- Blindfolds are used in several magic tricks. One common trick involves a blindfolded performer doing a task that requires vision such as driving.
Sexual blindfold use is common in and outside of the bondage
Bondage is the use of restraints for the sexual pleasure of the parties involved. It may be used in its own right, as in the case of rope bondage and breast bondage, or as part of sexual activity or BDSM activity.- Private bondage :...
community, one of the initial things recommended for sexual variety. Blindfolds (along with feathers and handcuffs) are commonly sold in novelty "bondage kits" marketed toward non-BDSM practitioners. Many impromptu items already found in the bedroom lend themselves to such use without preparation or prior purchase of specialized equipment.
Blindfolds can be worn during BDSM
BDSM is an erotic preference and a form of sexual expression involving the consensual use of restraint, intense sensory stimulation, and fantasy power role-play. The compound acronym BDSM is derived from the terms bondage and discipline , dominance and submission , and sadism and masochism...
situations by the submissive.
Use of a blindfold is said to enhance the remaining senses of the wearer, focusing attention on sound, smells and physical contact. This increased awareness is said to allow for greater excitement and anticipation by eliminating visual cues, as one cannot see what to expect. It also requires trust of the submissive, with all the emotional ramifications that entails.