Flourescent lights, panic attacks, eye problems, migraines

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by MidwestMom, Dec 12, 2014.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I was walking in Walmart yesterday and suddenly my eyesight seemed dull and I felt a monster panic attack coming on. I haven't had them for decades, but I have always noticed that fluorescent lighting bothers me a lot, especially my eyesight. I used every coping skill I know of, including deep breathing, but my eyes were still so bothered that I had to leave. It almost felt like a throwback to derealization./depersonalization.

    I work under fluorescent lights.

    Today I looked up fluorescent lights to see if I was imagining this stuff and I'm not! They do cause manic attacks, migraines, seizures and a lot of things in sensitive people. Wow. I can't afford the type of lenses that help...at least not right now...as insurance doesn't cover it.

    Anyone else have trouble with fluorescent lights? Anyone even hear about this? I never had before yesterday. I wonder if sunglasses would help, although I'd look pretty silly wearing them in the winter in Wisconsin and I couldn't at work.
  2. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    I have trouble with fluorescent lights ~ especially at WalMart. My eyes turn bright red, too. I don't know that I ever thought of what happens to me at WalMart as a panic attack. But maybe, that is what it is. I get anxious about buying things for myself when I should be buying for the kids, or for the grandchildren. Trying to make a choice about makeup drives me nuts there, but it doesn't happen at, say, Sally.


    We have a fluorescent light over the kitchen sink.

    I will have to tell husband I can never do dishes there again.


  3. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    I've never heard of them causing panic attacks but having had migraines off and on for years I do know that flourescent lights can trigger them or make even an existing headache worse. Wasnt aware of a lense for glasses that would help with that. Getting ready to get new glasses so need to check that out! Thanks MWM!
  4. pasajes4

    pasajes4 Well-Known Member

    Fluorescent lights emit a buzzing sound that drives me crazy. I can't go to stores without ear plugs. I wear sunglasses year round.... even inside. I get ocular migraines if I don't.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I have had ocular migraines too. Thanks. Maybe I'll try sunglasses.
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Yes. It is worse with older lights, because the "ballast" wears out. But if you are sensitive, it is there even for new ones.
    Fluorescent lights can also have a slight "flicker" to them - which can affect multiple medical conditions such as epilepsy.
  7. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    If you work somewhere with the lights you can have the doctor diagnose the issue and then ask the business for an accommodation. I know several people who have gotten anti glare screens and different lighting due to migraines.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I don't work in an office. I work in a warehouse. I can't see what they would do. I have to get special glasses, I guess.
  9. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    You'd be surprised. It never hurts to ask. If it's a medical accommodation they might pay for the coating.
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I don't think it's that bad that I need to ask for that. Now that I understand what fluorescent lighting is, and that if is constantly flickering, it seems I am far more tolerant when in it. I can actually see the blinking or I think I can and my vision is much more clear. Maybe I just needed to understand. Panic disorder is very much "in your head." Understanding that the flickering is causing something that is NOT my imagination was very comforting. And I thank you mucho for your help and your suggestion. Trust me, I'd ask if I felt I needed it.
  11. FlowerGarden

    FlowerGarden Active Member

    It happens to me, too. Mine is worse in grocery stores and a specific Target store in our area. I don't know anything about glasses for it, just medication.
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    What do you take?
  13. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    The alternative to fluorescent is LED. Conversion is expensive, but running costs are lower. Some firms are building conversion plans... as each bank of fluorescents wears out, they are replacing them with LED.
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I wish they'd do that here, IC. I was in Walmart today, Home of the Flaming Flourescents, and I could feel my vision dulling and the panic starting in, but I controlled it really well and it never got out of hand. I don't know if some flourescents are worse than others. It bothers me more in big department stores, in the back of the stores, than in smaller stores and in the front, where sunlight can still stream in through the windows (not that there is much of that here in December).
  15. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Yes, there is a difference.
    New, high-quality fluorescent lights are not normally a problem.
    Old ones, or cheap ones, are.

    And there are a LOT of old ones out there.
  16. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Thanks. Well, I guess Walmart isn't breaking the bank on the types of fluorescent lights they use then...lol.
  17. cubsgirl

    cubsgirl Well-Known Member

    I have panic attacks in Wal-Mart and get a headache (not a migraine) but I never thought about the type of lighting. I don't get that way in Target or other stores - I'll have to pay attention next time I shop.