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» LymeNet Flash » Questions and Discussion » Medical Questions » change in office fluro lighting-odd symptoms?

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Author Topic: change in office fluro lighting-odd symptoms?
LymeNet Contributor
Member # 15294

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Its been a while since Ive been here posting as Ive been doing fairly well the past few months. I havent been an any abx for a few months, and only occasionally have some residual migraines or anxiety flare ups, Im assuming from the brain still healing from the encephalitis/meningitis.

Anyway, onto the question..

Has anyone here noticed any problems with flouroescent lighting affecting them? Our company recently changed over from the older T12 bulbs to the T8s that are more energy efficient, and for some reason, the light is really making me feel weird, with eye twitches, anxiety, and migraines trying to kick in etc.

Ive researched the difference between them and while the new bulbs are more efficient, and more lumens (brighter), I think its the color spectrum thats got my brain off kilter vs the intensity.

Anyone else notice color spectrum, meaning changing from soft white to blueish white light affect them oddly?

Posts: 514 | From . | Registered: Apr 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Honored Contributor (25K+ posts)
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Yes, while I have "blue" light - full spectrum regular bulbs - that bluish tone from any sort of fluorescent just makes me sick to my stomach. I also deal with seizures so it's far more complex in my case - notes below are old. You might do a search of current articles, etc.

Regardless of the kind of bulb, and what looks good on paper, scientifically - if you have problems, there should be no need to "prove" it. They BOTHER YOUR EYES. You need this changed.

You should need no explanation beyond that. But, if you have a LL eye doctor that would be helpful, perhaps, to have a letter.

Go to your Human Resources director, declare a physical need for accommodation and get the lights around you to be turned off. Get a desk lamp. This is the least they can do for you - and others, too.

You may need to have your desk moved - and when in other common areas, wear a visor and dark glasses but that will not help as much as you might think.

The buzz would also be a huge irritant for me. Yeah, they say the newer types are quiet but, not to my ears. I can almost feel their buzz. Others do not, however, so I mostly keep that to myself.

I also think there is no need to light everyplace like a space ship.

As many lyme patients have vestibular symptoms (inner/middle ear/balance) see the notes here about fluorescent lights:




Energy-saving light bulbs could trigger migraines, say campaigners.


The Migraine Action Association says members have told them how fluorescent bulbs have led to attacks. . . .

. . . Last year the charity Epilepsy Action reported that a small number of people with the illness could have seizures triggered by low-energy bulbs.

See comments:


Robin M - July 27th, 2009

My office in the U.S. recently installed energy efficient bulbs in our lunch area. I tried to sit under the lights and immediately started feeling sick to my stomach and started getting a headache.

I had to leave the lunch area right away and instead eat at my desk, where we have regular fluorescent lighting.

I did a random search over the Internet to see if there could be a reason for this and came across this article on your site. I've never been diagnosed with lupus but do have some light sensitivity issues.


Audrey . . . August 1st, 2009

. . . I also become irritable and unwell when in the shopping centres and other public places which have any sort of fluorescents and I can no longer watch TV without adverse effects.

I am under a neurologist who so far has not found anything else wrong and it is actually very difficult to prove epilepsy anyway as most eeg's are negative. . . .

The worst part is trying to get anyone to accept that all this has anything to do with the new lights but from personal experience I believe there can be no other explanation. I can use halogen in my home but when I go out, even to doctor's surgeries, there are all the lights on full display, often low down and uncovered.

. . . .



`` . . .But getting us to change out our incandescent light bulbs for some irritating fluorescent ones isn't going to save the world. All it's going to do is make us more agitated and jumpy and feeling like once we get home we haven't really left the office. . . .''


Just in general: (Through Amazon)

The Eye Care Revolution: Prevent and Reverse Common Vision Problems - by Robert Abel, Jr. M.D.

You can read customer reviews and look inside the book.


32 articles on Vision and Sight

One of those:

Vision: Natural Ways to Maintain Eye Health - By Jim English


You could try tinted glasses but they really don't help my eyes. I just need the fluorescents OFF. I've tried several kinds at home, too, and just can't handle any brand at all.

IRLEN LENSES - tinted lenses


You might try GINGER CAPSULES and MAGNESIUM to calm vestibular irritation and calm nerve fibers --- and also reassess your LIVER, ADRENAL and NERVOUS SYSTEM support methods, though avoiding eye and brain irritation is the immediate need. This is very important.

I think we will see many problems with the way these kind of lights irritate people, not just those with chronic illness.

I'm all for saving the planet but some of these lights lead to a dangerous irritation - it just that few will ever connect the dots. Irritation is not at all about a weak character or personality. If someone is irritated by stimuli, their BRAIN is irritated. Not good as the resultant stress chemicals damage the heart.


This is just a slight sampling to research on color, eyes, brain, etc. But as the newer fluorescents are so new, it will take a while before we see patterns. Still, if it affects you, now, you have the right not to suffer.

If your desk is moved to a corner by a window (would be so nice) and the overhead lights are off in your section, others around you would probably also feel better. Desk lamps can be very nice, too. Just don't get an electronic lamp or you'll have the same problems. Regular bulbs.

Now, after more more thought, I think your company should just return ALL those light bulbs. Start over.

Yes, some of the newer fluorescent bulbs are better than some of the version of years and decades past but if they harm health in any way - affecting quality of life - then companies are going to suffer costs in productivity, safety and health insurance.

Years ago, a radio station put in pink fluorescents, thinking they cast a rosy glow and would make people cheerful. Well, the opposite occurred. Everyone just got more irritated at each other over minor matters. One day, on the air doing the news, one of the announcers just blurted out "if they don't change the lights in here, I'm going to KILL someone."

Smart management had an "ah-ha" moment, immediately changed the lights and everyone went back to being themselves.

[ 03-05-2010, 02:56 PM: Message edited by: Keebler ]

Posts: 48021 | From Tree House | Registered: Jul 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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I cannot tolerate any sort of fluro. lighting.

Well, let me re-state that. Prior to Biaxin I could not even walk into a CVS without the lighting causing flashing lights in my peripheral vision.

It is better now since treatment but I still have some issues with

May sound silly but I bring my own light bulbs with me when I stay at a hotel because those energy efficent lights in the room are the frequency that causes these flashing lights to kick in.

Lots of research out there on these new energy efficient bulbs triggering sezuires and migraines.

I also have to be very careful with the refresh rate on my computer moniter. Higher the better as the brain cannot percieve a higher hertz rate and less likely to cause problems.

I don't think you are alone in your lighting sensitivity. TG

Posts: 376 | From New Jersey | Registered: Jun 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Honored Contributor (25K+ posts)
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He speaks to fluorescents and what he says is still very valid about today's newer versions.

Health and Light:The extraordinary Study that Shows How light Affects Your Health and emotional well being

- by John N. Ott

Below may be the original title or a different book entirely. I just pulled it off my bookshelf (and realized I never returned it to the doctor from whom I borrowed it).

I don't have time to figure it out - or energy. Look for all he has written, though. He is absolutely top on this subject.

Health and Light: The Effects of Natural and Artificial Light on Man and Other Living Things (1973)

- by John N. Ott


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I couldn't stand the lights in my office, and they were all on a single switch (so no option to use only 1/2).

As it is a shared office (2 people), it would not be fair for me to have full say on the matter. The compromise we reached was to remove the bulbs from my side.

It's a lot better, and was done the same day that I put in the request.

A lot of people chose to remove some bulbs for energy conservation, so if you're shy to make the request out of sensitivity you could state that as motivation.

I know not all have such accommodating workplaces, but for me it was worth asking and it worked out.

Posts: 455 | From Was in PA, then MD, now in the Midwest | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Honored Contributor (25K+ posts)
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By law, accommodation such as this falls under the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) as a reasonable accommodation.

Posts: 48021 | From Tree House | Registered: Jul 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Honored Contributor (25K+ posts)
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Now, if I read Chuck's note correctly, perhaps a change in ballast could make a difference ?

If that change (or another change) is made and it changes everything, great. Can that happen?

With many of the newer bulbs, the ballast is right with the bulb itself, not part of the outer unit as in older units.

But, if that change is made and it still is bothersome, no one should have to be tormented by it even if, on paper, it should be okay.

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LymeNet Contributor
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I just had an EEG test (brainwave test) done. When first getting hooked up, they had me stare into a strobe.

Guess what?

At certain speeds the agitation, anxiety, and eye twitching was very severe, and I had to tell the technician to stop.

I've always complained about department store lighting, but people probably just think I am a crazy. Now after that test, I am sure I am photosensitive.

Check into how many Hz the light is (the rate of flickering).

Posts: 967 | From A deserted island without internet access | Registered: Sep 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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