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Could CRT Computer Monitors Induce A Seizure?

 Hi All,I'm new to this forum, and new to the world of epilepsy. First off, got to say that this  is a great resource =) I'm a few months shy of being 28, and had my first definate seizure in Janurary of this year. I then had another seizure on May 29th which is what prompted me to seek medical attention. I've had CT Scans, an MRI, and a normal as well as a sleep deprived EEG and am still to see my doctor about the sleep deprived EEG and MRI which I had recently. I have only seen a specialist once so far and he told me that he thought it was epilepsy originating in the temporal lobe. While I was shocked, there was a link as my father had been diagnosed with epilepsy when he was 42, although he would become unconcious during his seizures where as I've been reasonably aware of what's going on during both of mine. My StorySummary of my story to date is that when I had my first seizure I was sick at the time with the flu and was positive that I was suffering hallucinations as a result of the flu medicine as the seizure started about 20~30 minutes after I had taken it. As I had never experienced anything remotely like this before there was no doubt in my mind at the time that what I had experienced was as a result of the flu medicine so i didn't do anything about it. 4 months later while entering the local shopping center to get my hair cut I got a strange feeling of being detached from reality, I then encounted what best could be described as a flashback (although I don't take any drugs). I recognised the feelings straight away, but as I was positive the first instance was caused by some dodgy medicine I decided to keep going. About 30 odd minutes later, just as I was finishing getting my haircut, I had another one, and then another, but so much more intense this time. Up until then I had been able to "control" my actions and behaviour by concentrating and had been able to keep myself in the real world capable of holding conversations and doing things while they were happening. Not this time. My hairdresser stopped mid cut ans said, "you don't look too good", and to be honest I was close to fainting as one of the most intense episodes that made up my seizures had just past. Still I persisted on going on, and finished getting my hair cut. The ladies at the haridressers looked after me and got me a cool drink and something to eat, and I did feel better when my girlfriend came to pick me up. We left the shopping center and I explained to my girlfriend what had been happening, and I was just hoping that I had seen the last. No luck, I had had another episode before we left the shopping center car park. Anyway, to cut a long story short (or shorter at least) the episodes increased in frequency so that where happening once every few minutes, so we though it was time to take myself to the emergency room at hospital. My SeizuresMy seizures are uncommon to everyone I have spoken to that has epilepsy. This only constitutes a handful of people so I won't draw too much from it. Both my seizures have consisted of many small episodes of the same basic structure that have increased both in intensity and frequency until I reached what I called the epileptic climax. After that they seemed to decrease in frequency and intensity until they had gone altogether, leaving me very tired and exhausted.The episodes that made up my seizures consisted firstly a strange feeling of being detached from reality, then a jumble of images, both moving (like a film) and still going through my head that I had no control over what so ever, and I could not distinguish if these were actual memories of things I had done, things I had dreamt, imagined or had seen on some TV show. It doesn't sound that bad, but the fact I had no control made it quite an unpleasant experience. I can't even remember what they were exactly, just that none of them were violent or grotesque (my doc asked me this so I thought I'd put it in), what I do remember is that they all felt somewhat familar to me, like a dream or a distant memory that you couldn't quite place. Once this hallucination stopped a feeling of falling followed along with dry reaching, head spins, sweating and generally feeling quite faint. All this lasted as best as I could tell about 30 seconds to a minute each. Each seizure lasted several hours and consisted of dozens of these individual episodes, the first lasted about 5 hours, and the second lasted about 8 hours. Apart from the most intense episodes during my second seizure I was still able to do everything as I normally could if I concentrated, although I was feeling quie uncomfortable. Another constant feeling I have only had as far as I can remember since my first seizure is a constant tired feeling behind, and just below my eyes. A good sleep seems to lessen this a little, but half an hour into my day and the discomfort is back there again. I have not seen this last feeling described in any of the epilepsy literature II have read to date. My Environment At The TimeDuring my first seizure I was unemployed, and was spending excessive amounts of time infront of my CRT based computer monitor. When I had my second seizure I was actually employed, but being a systems administrator I was again spending huge amounts of time infront of a CRT based computer monitor. I'm talking between 10 and 14 hours a day, and geberally no less than 3 or 4, even on the weekend.  Could Seizures Be Induced By CRT MonitorsI never made the connection at first, as being told you have epilepsy and hearing about how it is going to change your life is quite a bit to take in at first. The idea actually came to me when having my first EEG when I had the flashing light stuck in my face. CRT monitors operate in a very similar fashion. They manipulate three electron beams (red, green, blue) in a single stream, and effectively paint the image we see from side to side, one line at a time. An entire screen is usually painted at a minimum of 60Hz (60 times a second) on modern monitors, but a strobing/flashing effect can still be seen to the human eye at this speed. I usually try and keep this refresh rate at or above 85Hz (85 times a second). Even though at a higher frequency, this strobing effect is still there.Anyway, the one thing that I have been able to draw from both my seizures is that I was using computers excessively during these periods. I also suspect that this is the reason for the discomfort behind the eyes (no big suprises there I think). My thought is that in my case that my seizures may well have been induced by this excessive use, and wondered if anyone else working with computers a lot could draw any parallels with my symptoms. Even though I am yet to do any serious research, or even ask my secialist about it, I think I am going to get my CRT monitors both at work and at home replaced with LCD monitors and make some adjustments to my lifestle so that I am not spending anymore than 10 hours a day (for a start) infront of them. When it comes to my peepers, I 'm just not prepared to take any chances.


I took electronics in college and have seizures.  The bottom line is that the jury is still out when it comes to this subject.When a CRT screen is new it is very hard to notice any level of change in the number of seizures they have compared to a LCD screen.  But when the CRT screen gets old, one of those cannons will begin to go out.  It will cause an obvious flicker in the screen that all can see.  CRT monitors are nothing more than a television without the ability to tune them.  They should cause you no more seizures than watching TV would.Many places have hated this debate so badly that they just went with LCD monitors and accepted the extra cost.  LCD has the drawback of not being as clear as a CRT so you can end up with eyestrain if you have to use an LCD constantly.  But LCD is a much thinner and lighter monitor.Personally I use a CRT monitor and have no fear of them.

Yes, TV's and CRT monitors work much the same way, but I was wondering about the fact that you sit so much closer to a monitor might have an effect? One of the screens I still use at home is coming on 5 years old, so perhaps it might be time to get it serviced or replaced. I'll be interested to reserch this topic a bit more I think.

Have you ever played Nintendo, Sega, etc.? Read the disclaimer in the pamphlet that comes along with the games. The theory is that the pulsating light emitted by the screen can cause seizures, in certain individuals. A child playing the game, as I remember, started having seizures even though never having a seizure diorder prior to the event. After that, video game manufactures began to place a disclaimer with the issue of each game. Sometimes during an EEG, the technician will shine a strobe light into your eyes as you're taking the exam. The readings on the graph during that phase of the EEG may show various abnormal brain signal wave patterns.

Crt Computer Monitors do induce seizures in many people. So do T.V.'sor any light that moves or changes colors. One of my questions, when all this first started and you were sick, did you have a fever. With many people a fever brings on there first seizure, and for those with seizures a fever makes theres worse. When I was young opposite of what they say now, I had a fever and you were not suppose to have anything cold. After trying everything my dad finally asked me (what do you want) my answer was ice cream. As soon as I ate that I felt better both my fever and I felt like I was no longer going to have a seizure. WashkuhnR

Yes,a computer monitor can induce a seizure.I've had plenty of seizures on the computer.So you should have a glare screen. Belinda

hii don't know the difference between crt montiors or anything else, but definately computer monitors can cause seizures.  it falls in the "photosenstive" category i believe - seizures caused by flickering lights.  I have this type of epilepsy & by having a glare screen makes a HUGE difference.  They are not too expensive & can be bought anywhere where computers are.  hope this helps

Hi,Just out of curiosity, are you affected by reading at all?  I haf my first seizure in 9 years last week while reading in the sun and most of my 10 or so tonic-clonic seizures in the last 20 years have been while reading - would this come into the photosenitive category and if so, what would be a remedy?  I wnet out on a whim and paid a ridiculous amount for photchromatic glasses but at the moment they jsut seem strange and I prefer to wear ordinary sunglasses.I don't by the way feel particularly bothered by the computer screen but flourescent lighting in shops drives me insane!Any ideas??Rhiannon

I know EXACTLY what you mean mate.I have been off work for 9 months, my job envoles being in a large office staring at CRT screens all day, at the end of the day I would go home feeling like there was a pounding in my head and my ears were being blocked in time with my pulse. The funny thing is I would get home and sit in front of my computer but not have the same problem, my PC at home has TFT monitors! The only time I would feel weird using my PC at home would be playing games which I believe can produce a simular problem to CRT monitors. I have also found that when I play import games (NTSC) on my Xbox I often felt weird, I wonder if its cos my telly is 50hz, Id like to see if a 100hz TV would improve things.I have also had an incident at a hairdressers, after about 10 mins of being sat having my hair cut I started feeling sweating and panicy and started shaking, afterwards I felt like I'd been through hell.The weirdest thing is when I get my attacks, I start off feeling surreal, it reminds me of when I was young and had general anesthetic for teeth removal, and the sensation as the anesthetic started to take over.The most uncanny thing is after this I start to hear soundtracks from films in my head, its like I'm semi-dreaming a film I've seen before, but for the life of me I can't remember what film they are from, its like being at a quiz and hearing some music from a film and having the name of the film on the tip of your tongue but not getting it.My attacks last about 30 seconds, and after I feel drained, I often have to just lie on the sofa for a couple of house and often fall asleep.I am currently off work as my attacks have caused agoraphobia, my GP has me on Prozac and Diazipam, but appart from helping me sleep better they have had no effect on my attacks.I also have problems reading books and magazines, I find it very tireing to read a page of text and I find I can only read for a few mins before I have to go and look at something else.

Because MY computer was bringing on so many seizures with me.We bought a monitor that had a glare screen built in.TRy getting a glare screen for your computer. Belinda

Hi All!I'm new to this community. I have temporal partial epilepsy for 15 years. I thought I would tell my CRT story.I design webpages and restore photos on photoshop. Occasionally, I will have breakthrough seizures and I can never figure out  the trigger. In August, I went back to school to finish my bachelors degree online. I'm really nervous about attending because I started my seizures during my 2nd year of college. I struggled to keep my grades up and  finish my Associates Degree. My thinking hasn't been quite the same, so I developed a fear about going back to school. I decided not to work until I was comfortable with my studies because I knew I would have to work a little harder for my grades.. The first semester I was back on the dean's list, so I decided to do a web design job three days ago. Between doing my schoolwork and doing the web page I was on the computer all day. My seizures started again and they lasted for 2 days.   I figured out the unknown trigger is my CRT monitor. I did some research and it could be the refresh rate or fatigue(on the eyes?) Who knows? All I know is my seizures are being triggered by the CRT monitor. Today, I bought a LCD flat screen and will be giving up the graphic arts so I spend less time on the computer.Trish 

PSSorry I forgot to mention:I have a glare screen and it didn't work. Trish 

Trish,It is very definite that computer monitors cause seizures. I have gone around to the people I work with in my department at work and have reset the refresh rate on all their monitors. A refresh rate of 60 or so can cause seizures, headaches, and eye strain. Reset the monitor to 75 or 80 and you might notice a difference. If you have florescent lights in your office that can also be a problem. I've had my company replace the balasts in my light to be magnetic instead of what generally comes with the lights. It's an easy and inexpensive thing to do and it has helped me a great deal. Your company shouldn't give you any trouble when you request it as it is an ADA accomodation. I work at a large company and never had to go through my manager to get this done, so that helped.One reason why people have problems with computers in a room with florescent lights (and I'm making a big assumption here about the florescent lights) is because the lights themselves refresh at the same rate as that of the monitor. I hope that resetting the refresh rate or trying different things with the lighting helps you out. Any if anyone else out there has this same issue or gets headaches or eye strain, give it a try.Good luck.

lemond, Thanks for the reply!My solution was going out and buying a LCD monitor. My mother offered to buy the LCD because she wants me to finish school.  I've been on the LCD for a couple of hours today and I do notice a big difference. My CRT was set at 75 refresh rate and it was about a year old and I also had a glare screen. Maybe after long hours on the computer, the refresh rate doesn't matter anymore. My seizures happen after long periods on the computer.I work and go to school at home with regular lighting. I haven't noticed florescent lights triggering seizures, but I will make a note of it.Trish

Ironically, we are all on computers right now or have been in order to type up our replies or questions. My friend is also photosensitive to strobe lights, florescent lights, etc. We had to be really careful when we went through a haunted house and when we take pictures (the camera has a strobe before the flash so you won't get red eye in the picture).

Yes, both CRTs and flourescent lighting can trigger seizures. The flourescent lighting is particularly bad when the ballast starts to fail and you are flooded by the obnoxious flickering that can occur.gsness

First let me say that your descriptions of your first seizures is exactly how I found out that I had something wrong with myself. Ten years ago( I am now 38), I was walking through a store, and all of a sudden I was confused, everything seemed like it wasn't real. I even forgot what I was there for. The feeling passed, and I wrote it off as nothing big. Then a few weeks later, it happened again, and I decided to go and see my family doctor. Of course everything checked out fine, and I was sent on my way. A month later, I had a full blown nocturnal grand-mal seizure. I was sent to see a specialist in Kalispell, Mt. , and my neurologist ordered an M.R.I. , and found that I had an A.V. Malformation on my brain. I walked from his office, to the intensive care unit, where I spent the next four days. Scared, you bet. It is very frustrating in the beginning days of epilepsy to get people to understand. And it is even harder to understand it yourself. Even though I had surgery to correct the malformation, scar tissue was left on my brain, which causes me to have seizures. I still to this day have a hard time entering into stores that use a lot of the big flourescent lights. Wal-mart is off limits. I can feel fine all day, and the second I walk into that store, I get the same feelings that I had the first time I noticed that I was getting sick. And of course when this starts to happen, you naturally start to panic. My computor screen has never bothered me though. My kids have playstation games that I watch them plat sometimes, and they also never seem to bother me. I do know that certain types of lighting can trigger seizure activity in some people. I hope this helps you.Maddy2by4

Kinda curious about something here. Not for JUST the person who posted this to begin with, but also to everyone giving replies.Uh, brashquido, who posted this, posted it way back on August 3, 2004. After reading the story this person is probably a female. She hasn't added anything else to here topic. So there may be a chance that she hasn't come back to see the replies.brashquido, if you are still reading everyone's replies on here, then please let everyone know AND give an update on how you're doing now.Bruce J

Hi all!It would be nice to hear if our answers were read.On a related topic... those flashing lights sure keep me out of casinos!Blessings to all!gsness

When you always using your monitors and have no protectors maybe you can have some seizure. Some doctors advice contact lenses from your eys. LED computer monitor now safe than old models monitors.

I posted earlier about my symptoms, my big problem is my Agoraphobia. Ive been unable to leave the house for nine months now, and even though Ive been on Prozac and Diazipam for 3 months Im the same as I was at the begininng of this year, I havent had a doctor visit me in the last nine months as they claim unless they can prove I'm either agoraphobic or have a potentially fatal illness they wont send anyone to see me, its so frustrating, they seem to all think my problems are emotional yet how can I have seizures start even when Im on my own in the house enjoying watching a TV program, taking a bath or playing Xbox.Ive been waiting since July to see neurologist yet I still have no appointment, I understand that Temporal Lobe Epilepsy is often confused with agoraphobia because of the way the threat of seizures happening for no reason makes you scared to go out anywhere.I also suffered from the "surreal" feeling often in fluroesent lit shopping centres and supermarkets, and I feel strange if my eyes scan across lots of vertical stripes such as a long white fence, Ive been gettin these sensations for years but still cant get my doctor to take any notace, I once even had such a bad attack at work I almost passed out yet when I went to see a locum doctor he said theres nothing wrong with me and its just me being tired.I should point out I live in the UK, I'm sure if I lived in the US I could have complained to someone by now and got something done about my condition.

Hi,I'm so sorry that your fear has brought on agoraphobia - I can well imagine that mine has the potential too, but for various reasons I have to go out!  Shop lighting almost invariably makes feel strange and since I used to be a real shopaholic, this is a fairly recent thing and keeps my spending in check at least!  Sunlight and bright light in general frighten me and if I haven't got my sunglasses with me I'm really neurotic when I go out.  It's such an unpredictable condition and that's what frightens us most, I guess, but if we tell ourselvs that the fear can only make it worse, perhaps that can help make us strong enough to cope with it.  It's hard to distinguish with the lights, when we imagine that we feel strange or when we actually do that's the problem!  Fear can control you to such an extent.I have a baby of 4 months and I'm so scared I'll have an attack when I'm holding him, but I just do my best to make sure that I could put him down etc if I do.  I've lived for almost 20 years with this condition, got two degrees, held down jobs, brought up a little boy and kept a marriage together - it doesn't have to beat you and it mustn't.  I have been diagnosed with Epilepsy and I have these surreal feelings that you describe - the doctors should listen!  Unfortunately, photosensitive epilepsy is pretty rare, so the doctors would vry possibly not be very well informed on it, but it sounds like you have some symptoms.Rhiannon

Things are VERY bad for me now:I am complaining in the utmost disgust at the treatment I have received under the NHS.In March 04 I had to stop work as I was experiencing regular attacks that left meunable to work. As the year went on I suffered from more and more attacks which leftme extremely agoraphobic. In July my GP Dr Jenks applied for me to get seen by PaulDavis at the Northampton Hospital for Neurological treatment for my worseningcondition. In November she received a letter stating I had not responded to my appointment, thatis when it was found my appointment had been sent to the address I lived at 8 YEARS ago,she then claimed she would apply for me to see Paul Davis again.In January I started to suffer from constant headache in my left lobe, this headache has becomeworse and worse yet I have received NO treatment or test for it, I was only given co-codimine whichhas actually made me worse and I had to stop taking it, my eyesight has also worsend so much thattyping this is hard as I have constant cross vision which worsens with the pain in my head..In mid February the pain of the headache increased incredibly, I now suffer from a buildup ofpressure in my brain every 30 minutes that leaves me in utter pain, my eyesight has also becomebadly effected. I phoned the hospital on the 21st of Feb to find out when I would see the Neurologistas the pain my head was in was excruciating and discovered that the Hospital had never heard of aletter from my GP to see the Neurologist.That night I had incredible pain in my head and stabbing pain in my chest, I was taken intoA&E, after initial tests proved negative the consultant on that night said I should see a Neurologistbut that I would have to do it through my GP.Still nothing has happened, still I am getting worse, suffering from incredible headache pain every halfand hour and still I am waiting to be seen. WHAT WILL BE DONE ABOUT IT?

Hello,I am new to posting but have been reading this forum for quite a long time now. This particular post caught my eye because my 14 year old daughter has photogenic epilepsy also known as photosensitivity. My daughter had her first seizure ever in front of a computer two years ago at a teen center while checking her email. I thought they were joking with me when they called me to tell me she had a seizure because she had never had a seizure before in her life. She has had migraine headaches since she was four years old but never any seizures. After being hospitalized for almost a month they finally did a sleep diprived eeg and she had a siezure during this eeg. They gave me the name and type of epilepsy from this result..... photogenic epliepsy. The doctors started her on depakote and asked that she avoid things such as computers... disco lights at clubs... florescent lighting.... light flashing through trees while driving..... headlights of other cars during driving at night. All of these things are part of everyday life. Hard to aviod everything and still live a somewhat decent life. But with being on depakote her seizures stopped for a while and she returned back on computers and it was almost like we forgot she even has epilepsy. After a bit of time her seizures started up again.... every seizure she has had so far has been while she is on a computer. We banned her from computers again and things went back to normal.She was then put on lamictal because seizures were still happening and she felt weird on her depakote. By weird I mean....... she felt angry and out of control all the time..... she had gained alot of weight ...... she still felt (loopy) her words..... and like she was a time bomb ticking inside. Months had gone by with no seizures ... then on new years eve she had a major seizure. She always has gran mals but this time her seizure was longer and she was turning blue and green in the face and appeared to stop breathing. I had been through many seizures with her before and this is the first time I felt something was terribly wrong. She was taken to the hospital where she was told alot of things about her health and sometimes docotrs forget there is a 14 year old behind that scared face. They feel she is old enough to be completely honest with her ( which she is ) but never once thought about the psychological impact of telling her these things. My daughter has not been in school or out with her friends since this seizure. She is afraid daily of being left alone.... or going to school where the classrooms are lined with computer screens. Whether or not medically she is ok she still has a daily fear of having a seizure and possibly dieing from it. She now has severe migraines and blacks out alot. She feels dizzy and like she is out of her own body looking in. She vomits and constantly feels sick to her stomach. She also has a hard time concentrating for any long period of time and becomes frustrated because the things that seemed so simple before are hard to think about. She feels an intense pressure in the back of her head not like a headache more like as she discribes it a build up of something inside. She describes dreams of feeling like she is falling into a deep dark hole and then she sees the color red before waking up with an intense pain in her head and chest. These dreams are when she sleeps as well as having some during the day similar to a daydream. Has anyone else expirenced these forms of dreams with bright vivid colors? I dont know if there is a connection with the color red for her or not... some people say this is an aura but I am not sure. These things dont happen every day but I never know when they will occur. She has had a few nocturnal seizure since that last major seizure. She doesnt realize it till she wakes up in the morning with a splitting headache and her tongue chewed up. Her doctor put her on Tavor to help with the axiety but after being on it a month with no help she is off of that now. With her med levels perfect she has been able to function with crt monitors before but alot of people I have talked to highly reccomend tft monitors. As soon as she is feeling better about trying to sit in front of a computer again we will try it with a tft monitor to see if it helps or not. Her neurologist seems to think it doesnt matter much about the type of screen but more about how close you sit to a monitor. How much truth in that idea Im not exactly sure. I have also been told to try a green fliter in front of the monitor to help filter certain colors.I have yet to try this either but it was a recomendation. Not much is known yet about people with photogenic epilepsy because out of all epileptics anly 4% are known to have a true photgenic elpilepsy. But in this day and age where computers are in almost every aspect of life it makes it terribly hard for a pesron who suffers from this to adapt. As I find out more and try more ideas I will post what seems to work best. If anyone has more insight please reply as we are willing to try just about anything.

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