I had a colleague today who had been staring at his database code too long.

"This database call works over here, but the same code doesn't work over here. I don't know what is going wrong."

At a simple glance I could see the JDBC string had been doubled up - it was right in front of him and yet he couldn't see it.

Now this happens to me all the time. (As in - I don't see things). The term that comes to mind is 'domestic blindness' but in a work situation that doesn't seem right - there must be a different term. Something like 'staring at the code too long'.

My question is: What is the effect called when you stare at something long enough you are blind to the issue in front of you?

  • Well, technically you could use "negative afterimage", but that doesn't really roll off the tongue.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Jul 27, 2017 at 12:22
  • "Desensitization" comes to mind, though it is more literal than you intend it. Nonetheless, in your example, repeated (consistent) exposure to something has rendered this person incapable of distinguishing it. That seems to be analogous to desensitization. Or, in your context, "this person has become desensitized".
    – Flater
    Commented Jul 27, 2017 at 12:44
  • 1
    Isn't it really losing the forest for the trees? Commented Jul 27, 2017 at 12:54

1 Answer 1


It so much depends on many conditions, but here are some basics:

  • Dazed
  • Glazed over
  • Over-exposed
  • Become inured, numb, resistant, desensitized, unresponsive

  • Transfixed, dulled, over-used, hypnotized, mind went blank, lost in thought or lost a train of thought.

  • Dozed off, needed a break -- to refresh.

So. It depends.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.