What do flickering/flashing lights do to you?

What effect do flickering or flashing lights have on you? Can you describe a bit how you feel when you encounter them and what happens to you?

Does everyone with epilepsy have a reaction to them? Is everyone photosensitive in this way or is photosensitive just one specific type, and there are others who are not bothered by what they see? 



Re: What do flickering/flashing lights do to you?

I really don't find that I have a problem with them, when I was first diagnosed though my doctor told me to be aware so I don't go staring into strobe lights or anything. :) A few times when I have been in a club and they have strobe lights on and I am very close to them, I will get a sort of headache but no seizures. And I can watch japanimation just fine.

Re: What do flickering/flashing lights do to you?

Thank you! I was reading about photosensitive epilepsy since posting my question and apparently it's not common? According to the Epilepsy Foundation website, anyway. It seems most people think that strobe lights and epilepsy are married. I was wondering since it is possible that I have epilepsy, but still unconfirmed. Besides the sleep "episodes" i've had forever (described in my only other post), movies about Marvel comics make me jump and jerk and feel zaps and electric tingle surges during the high action sequences, but never cause what I've always thought of as a full-on seizure. Last night we were watching "Tropic Thunder" (hilarious) in the dark, and I got up to go to the bathroom during a scene where there was constant lightning so the whole room was flashing. It threw me off as I walked, and when I got to the bathroom and turned the light on and... sat down, my skin was tingling in places, one side of my face and my arm. Really strange. Never had a problem with strobe lights, but unexpected headlights flickering through the median fence on the Interstate one night caused a big electric shock and momentary brain-scramble. I could feel the electricity popping in my fingertips for a couple minutes afterward. I checked out some of the supposedly seizure-inducing YouTube videos, too, and none of them effected me whatsoever. Hm.

Re: What do flickering/flashing lights do to you?

hi, pelly

ya know I would love to say that I could watch all kind of movies and not care that the little cars in the airports with the litte flashing lights dont affect me ...but...well.. they do in fact I was gonna see a movie the most recent of the 007 and I couldnt cuz I started having my "epidsodes" look its different for everyone I know that for a fact but I do know that if a dr asks me to trigger a sz I know what to tell him...

right before my brain surgery they were doing some testing and they wanted to see exactly where all the sz were coming from and the question came out "do you know what triggers your sz"  hmmm I thougt should I tell them and have a gran mal or pretent I dont know .....It came out "saving private Ryan"  within seconds I was having sz after sz

look we are all different and we just gotta find out which ones are our qlich

your hand of cards have been delt now play them the best you can and WIN!!!!!

never give up!

`Christina Vargas

Re: What do flickering/flashing lights do to you?

Watching American idol bothers me

Re: What do flickering/flashing lights do to you?

You to?!?!?!

All the best, Christine

Re: What do flickering/flashing lights do to you?

I have Photosensitive Eplielpsy. I had my first seizure due to a stobe light in a haunted house. Did'nt have another one until 10 years later randomly in a store. When my Dr. told me to have an EEG, they put the strobe lights in front of me, I instantly had a seizure, which is when she diagnosed me with Photosensitive Epliepsy. Two seizures due to strobe lights, and she said theone I had in the store could have possibly been a flickering light that I did'nt realize, although the feeling I had before that seizure was a different feeling then the one I get due to flashing lights. The feeling I get when I have one due to strobe lights in an intenese fear come over me, that's really it for me. I just start to freak out.

 As far as watching movies in the dark, I would'nt recomend that. I remeber reading somewhere to watch tv with the lights on. I also read that if the lights are bothering you, to cover one eye versus closing both of your eyes. Somehow it's more effective.

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I get incredibly dizzy.  The movie theatre can really bug me.  I won't even go into clubs/bars or if I do my friends guide me so I can close my eyes.  I begin to feel like I am going to have an aura.  They didn't use to bug me when I was younger but now they don't stop.  I wasn't diagnosed with any special photosensitivity but my doctor told me it can definately have an effect.  I also live in an apartment with my fiance and someone either above or below us smokes marijuana.  It is so hard for me to smell it and I most of the time get an aura from it.  The apartment complex though keeps saying there is nothing they can do about it.  I even had my regular tonic-clonic seizure in my apartment due to it! 

Re: What do flickering/flashing lights do to you?

Hi... I recently had an EEG, and although the white fluro lights in stores bother me, I had no reaction to the strobe in the test - must mean the medication is working - yay! I do find my eyes are very sensitive to light tho, particularly in movie theaters and during live performances where the audience is sitting in the dark and the lights are thrown up on stage. If I'm in a store and there's a flickering light I don't hang around to see what will happen. Safety first I think.

I do have a friend tho who is very sensitive. She can't even be near flash photography because that sets her off. It is such a strange thing and so random. I think we all have to be wary of it.

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When working w./ patients in  hospitals the computer screens w/ give me headaches and then I could not focus and my friends said I would get up and walk and flap my hands.  My friends said oh it was a subtle sz.  One of neurologist told me to use my sunglasses in 80's and that helped.  (apparently the screens flicker)  I also did EEG's and at times I would look away at the light and watch the paper to see if there was any abn. of the patient or where my sunglasses.  As the computers etc. got better I did not need my glasses.  I still where copper lenses for my computer.  It really seams to help my eyes.  It may be an individual need.

I have sz caused by stress, illness, forgetting to take on time, etc but from specific flickering things I cannot say.

Re: What do flickering/flashing lights do to you?

Photosensitivity is my name! I don't know about everyone else, but bright or flashing lights and I are mortal enemies. They have triggered a number of my seizures, one most notable was when the people in my office had a promotional photo session and I couldn't escape the flashes because I had to stay at my post.

I was under the impression that this was a problem for all of us, but reading the comments here, apparently this isn't true. I would, of course, suggest that all of us avoid the flickers because, just because it hasn't made you seize before doesn't mean it won't in the future.

On a side note.


They told me after my last seizure that my potassium level was low and maybe that was the cause. Now I have to choke down bananas on a regular basis. Bananas are disgusting and I would prefer to eat rubber bands.


Re: What do flickering/flashing lights do to you?

I have problems with strobe lights.  And the past two years now, a problem watching fireworks.  The constant flashing gives me an aura.  We take our kids to the fireworks every year for the 4 of July and now I have to cover my face, even the slightest bit of the flashing makes me feel VERY weird. 

Re: What do flickering/flashing lights do to you?

I'm so excited to get so many replies!

So, Kjcana, that wierd feeling counts, huh? Well, I'll be dogged. A couple nights ago I was watching the Indie rock video hour on one of our local channels and this video came on for a song by the band Cursive called "The Big Bang". I would suggest YouTubeing it, but then I'm apparently talking to people with photosensitive epilepsy, so never mind. Anyway, they show this circular blob of bright color changing colors so fast it's flashing with different colored scribbled circles in it all moving and then it shows faces of people who are just sitting there looking at the camera and it looks like a loud bang happens that we can't hear but you can see their reaction, then goes back to the flashing colored blob and scribbles. I got crawly, tingly goosebumps on the entire right side of my body from head to toe. Just the right side. I also felt an inner falling/electrical or excited-like sensation swell up inside me really fast. Sound familiar at all?



Re: What do flickering/flashing lights do to you?

Flashing lights used to make have seizures. Keppra now keeps my seizures under control. I started taking Keppra two years ago and ever since I haven't had a seizure. I thank God for the outcome.


"Believe in yourself and you can do whatever you set your heart to. Whatever/whoever you hold dear shall be blessed if you are a child of God. With God, all things are possible." look up John 3:16

Re: What do flickering/flashing lights do to you?

Does anyone feel funny or fall when you go outside in the sunlight?  This happens to my daughter.  She puts her sunglasses on but sometimes she still falls?????

Re: What do flickering/flashing lights do to you?

I am not sure that I am photosensitive as there is no evidence to my knowledge that says that I am.

But for the past 2 months I have been having problems with certain things especially the lights in the lifts in the place where I have been going to do my Level 2 Numeracy. The light in the lift seems to be faulty and it flickers and it makes me feel a little strange. If it was just that I wouldn't have given much thought about it, except the thing that has happened a few times after. The tutors at the place where I go for Maths said that I have been having "funny turns" by that they meant that I seem to display things like "zoning out" which from what I read appear to be absences and also they described what appears to be partial complexs where I am non-responsive for a few minutes.

Perhaps it's just a coincedence or my body and brain not being fully awake yet, I don't know.

Roll on 1 October. :)

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If you aren't aware of the zoning out, yourself, it might be an absence. I zone out alot, but I could tell you what I was thinking about. Couldn't tell you much about what was happening around me, but any recollection means you're still conscious. Non-responsive for a few MINUTES is pretty serious.

Re: What do flickering/flashing lights do to you?

I will have seizures when lights flicker at 50-100hrz (this is not normal, fotosensitivity is normal 25-30 hrz, but they kept on turning up the flickering during the EEG because I always have symptoms in shops....). This means when I enter rooms with TL lights, 'energy saving lightbulbs, LEDS, 'old' tv's or computer screens (flatscreens are ok for me), but also when I sit in the car and the sun shines through the trees, when I move my had when there are luxaflex in the room etc. I do use sunglasses all the time, but they won't help everytime. When I start to notice that something is 'bothering' my vision starts to change (like I'me looking through a fishtank),I will get a headache and goosebumps start to arise in strange patterns on my body. If I take meds immediately ( due to side-effects I am off every day meds for a while, ordered by doctor) I will not have a seizure, if I am too late, I will. Fortunately in my case the seizures caused by this (or patterns) are small (my other ones caused by other things are way bigger...) , but since 100 hrz is everywhere around us, it is not easy, espescially no in our country (Holland) the governement want to ban the new 'saving energy' lightbulbs to be the only ones for sale. You will understand that I have a garage full off the old ones... .

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The U.S. is supposedly banning them, too. But the CFL's are poisonous and their light is ugly. It sounds like a big-business/government scam.

What kind of seizures do you have in reaction to these light situations? I get a great big violent full-body flail from light through the trees when I'm riding in the car (but not when I'm driving, strangely.)

Re: What do flickering/flashing lights do to you?

Sometimes I am affected by them and others I am not.

When I am going to be affected I instantly get a headache.  When the lights give me a headache I know that within a few days I am going to have a seizure...  The headache lasts until I have the seizure and then it goes away.

Road construction at night is the worst!!  :o(

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The main reason I am not a media superstar is because I wouldn't be able to handle the paparazzis. Not because I have no talent, look how many very famous people there are who have no talent.

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My friend is also sensitive to lights. I have been helping her since her seizures started about 2 years ago. The strobes on the EEG tests don't affect her but the new LED lights in the freezer cases at supermarkets cause seizures. We have also had to get ear plugs to combat the noise of the motors in the freezer section. Also, whenever she gets the basic neuro test, whether in the ER or in the Doctor's office she either seizes or passes out cold. The flickering of light and dark while driving has also caused many of her seizures. We have tried several kinds of sun glasses but somehow the light always sneaks in. Camera flashes also make her pass out.