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TOPIC: Fluorescent Light Sensitivity

Fluorescent Light Sensitivity 1 year 3 months ago #1

  • Bobbo
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Hi I'm new here. I came across this Forum in a search for help with light sensitivity or Photophobia. In my case it's specifically caused by overly-bright fluorescent lights at work. Sunlight's not much of a problem, only fluorescents.

Some background- I've always gotten low level headaches from them, especially in the old days when they flickered much slower. I've always gotten minor headaches at malls and supermarkets, but lately over the past 6 months I've begun to get seriously splitting headaches from the lights at work. The company switched to much brighter bulbs, the brightest you can buy (unless you're farming plants indoors) and twice as many as they need in each fixture. Plus they removed the covers from several of the light fixtures. Even with sunglasses I get severe splitting headaches within minutes. Fortunately the management has been accommodating to my condition and allowed me to reduce the light to a reasonable level (by removing half the bulbs- it's still bright enough to cause a regular low-level headache)

Unfortunately there has been a management change at work so my days are numbered. I have had some succes with FL-41 tinted sunglasses, they are enough to stave off the headaches from normal levels of light. But when the ultra-brights come back on I will have to quit my job. There is no other choice if they refuse to accommodate me. I'm seeking treatment for this condition, but it's taken several months longer than I expected to see a Doctor.

What I really want to do is describe what it looks and feels like as precisely as I can. (Call it a Rant if you prefer)

First off, these way-too-bright light fixtures look like what you'd see in some vampire movies when the vamp is confronted with a big silver cross or a church- a bright white light, so bright he cannot look at it, the vampire has to turn away and shun the intense light. This is honestly what these fixtures look like to me, and there is an aura underneath them that I cannot enter without instant pain.

What it feels like...Before the headaches hit, what it feels like under these lights, it feels like the air is shimmering like waves of heat, only it's not hot. Please keep in mind that I am not exaggerating, I am being as precise as I can find the words for. Every object seems to be shimmering and shaking, and every inch of my body shudders as well. I get instantly weak like the life is being sucked right out of me. Sorry for the movie references, but remember when Frodo puts on the Ring and the world around him seems to shimmer and blur with malevolence? It looks and feels like that, only much brighter- permeated by light, saturated by it like the light feeds off itself and becomes more intense in mid-air. It's like a hostile intruder into my world. This feeling of hostility is always present. Plus it's like a weight or pressure on my head and my nerves and my whole body. I could easily succumb to a panic attack under these intense lights. The sheer power of these feelings is unbelievable. It's like something out of Science Fiction, a death ray or anti-life-ray that causes sickness, weakness, pain, and hopelessness all at once. It's hard to imagine something so intense being caused by something as common as a light fixture.

The headache- now I know what a "splitting" headache really means. It feels like the upper right portion of my skull is cracking, and I become nauseous as well. I am not prone to migraines.

I have tested this out by deliberately turning them on and timing it to see how long until the severe pain starts. 5 minutes without the FL-41 glasses, 12-13 minutes with them. As you can see, if I'm getting a splitting headache in under 15 minutes, how can I possibly work a 9 hour shift? I'm seeing a Doctor about it, but I really think there's nothing wrong with my eyes- it's simply that the lights are way too bright- 2500 Lux at eye level according to two different light meter apps on my phone (when 500 is considered very bright) I am not the only one who feels like a weight is lifted when the lights are turned down. I watch my coworkers avoid the brightest areas, and I see how uneasy they become.
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Fluorescent Light Sensitivity 1 year 3 months ago #2

  • Jodie
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Have you seen the Wiki page for this Bobbo? HUGE number of medical conditions can cause this en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photophobia
Last Edit: 1 year 3 months ago by Jodie.
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Fluorescent Light Sensitivity 1 year 3 months ago #3

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Wow I didn't know there were so many possible causes. It got bad last year while I was taking a certain prescription medicine for an unrelated condition, but it seemed to stay a notch worse after I got off the medicine, though not as bad as it is now. Back then it was sunlight too, but this time around it seems only fluorescents bother me.
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Fluorescent Light Sensitivity 1 year 3 months ago #4

  • Jodie
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Yup looks like you have some homework to do :S Not impossible tho, you can probably rule half those conditions out already. Good luck! - sounds like a horrible thing to deal with ..
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Fluorescent Light Sensitivity 1 year 3 months ago #5

  • Jodie
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These just came up on a board I use - don't know if they're any good! www.theraspecs.com/why-theraspecs/
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