View Full Version : Hypersensitive to light ? Read this!


speedo
05-29-06, 06:38 PM
comment: I found this on the net and thought it was interesting, and relevant to ADDers with hypersensitivities and not just to autistics, so I posted it here.
I am no sure that I totally accept what the author is saying, but it is sure interesting...

ME :D






Anne Pemberton
Irlen Scotopic Sensitivity: The Link to Autism

Paper

Introduction

Scotopic sensitivity (Irlen Syndrome) is a visual processing deficit caused by a
sensitivity to light. It is estimated to affect around 20% of the general
population, resulting in under achievement in school and at work (Riley 1999)
and underlies the serious sensory overload experienced in autism (Irlen 1997).
This sensitivity slows down the timing by which the brain receives and processes
visual information, resulting in varying degrees of dyslexia, attention deficit and
autism depending on the individual. Although the individual may have any one
of the three diagnoses there may be times when he does not really fit the
clinical picture. Physical effects of Scotopic sensitivity include photophobia
(especially under bright light and fluorescent lighting), eyestrain, headaches,
photosensitive epilepsy, stress and fatigue. Reading difficulties result from
visual distortions of the printed page caused by high contrast (black print on
white paper). The high functioning child often reads well, thereby masking the
SS, but may be hyperlexic. 81% of individuals with autism report these visual
distortions of their whole environment (Geneva Centre 1999). In many their
visual field of focus is as small as 10cm meaning their eyes have to flit all over
to take in a whole scene. This results in blurred, fragmented and multiple vision
and extreme stress.

Sensory system

In humans 70% of information coming into the brain is visual, making vision the
dominant sense. Blind individuals are known to rely more on auditory and tactile
processing. However, in scotopic sensitivity individuals are unaware of their
visual difficulties until corrected. The stress of this visual perceptual difficulty
creates hypersensitivity and lack of integration of other senses as they attempt
to compensate for poor visual perception. This may result in monotropism
(Williams 1996b), or the inability to use more than one sense at a time.
Behaviours characteristic of this are flinching in response to sudden movement,
hypersensitivity to sudden unexpected noise, stereotypic behaviour around the
eyes (finger poking, rubbing). The touch, taste, smell and hearing of individuals
with over aroused nervous systems provide graphic detail of the difficulties
encountered. Although the sensory problems of autism are well documented
(Williams 1998, Carlton 1993, Sacks 1995, Grandin 1996) they are often
overlooked (Grandin1996). Bettleheim ( 1969) and Timbergen (1983) identified
stress and anxiety as a major component in autistic spectrum disorders. This is
verified in autobiographic writings of individuals with autism.

Links with psychological theory

Baron-Cohen (1995) identified individuals with autism as having an impaired
theory of mind. He relates his theory to eye contact and the language of the
eyes. He states that part of decoding the language of the eyes is in detecting
the contrast between the white of the sclera and the dark of the iris and pupil.
The first hallmark of Scotopic sensitivity is a difficulty with contrast. This would
make eye contact painful, avoidance and limitation of eye contact are portrayed
well in autism.

Leslie (1987) highlighted difficulties in making mental representation or
symbolising. For instance the child who cannot improvise a banana for a
telephone. The second hallmark of Scotopic sensitivity is inability to see the
whole picture. Linking Scotopic sensitivity to Leslie's theory one cannot build a
mental representation without a visual representation as a starting point.

Hobson (1989, 1993) looks at autism from an emotional perspective. He states
that the child learns emotions directly from the mother's facial expression. With
Scotopic sensitivity in mind It may be that the child may be able to process
concrete emotions such as happy and sad with the help of motherease. As
emotions become more complex body language also comes into play and the
child cannot make up the whole picture.

Ozonoff et al (1991) identified a lack of executive functioning. Executive
functioning enables planning, sequencing, organising and is also responsible
for impulsiveness. Visual disturbances are known to accompany migraine,
epilepsy and systemic shock. Disturbance results in disorientation and loss of
executive functioning. Stress ensues and the two fall into a spiral, one
precipitating the other.

Study

A single subject behavioural study on a 12yr old male (DJ) was combined with
the diary of a 30 yr old female (MJ). Both have a diagnosis of Asperger
syndrome. Observations were recorded before and after correction with Irlen
lenses.

DJ before Irlen:

Extremely anxious, particularly in social situations. Extreme emotional
sensitivity resulting in violence and aggression at school. Much quieter
at home.
Stance very rigid. More so under stress, becoming very "Bull like".
Visual field of 17" (45cm). Could see faces at a distance of 60-67.5cm.
Outside this range he reports seeing "picasso" style.
Travel - never looked out of the window. Always "focused" inside a
book. Car radio always on loud to "drown out white noise".
Giddy, loud and boisterous in busy areas. Reluctant to go outside,
clung to care's arm constantly. Lots of "touching". Hitting out in the
playground and cloakroom - resistant to behaviour modification.
Continually tripping and bumping. Major physical co-ordination
difficulties.
Complaints of over sensitive sensory system, i.e. Loud noises, scratchy
fabrics, painful touch, poor temperature control, difficulties with smell,
texture and taste. Carbohydrate binger.


DJ after Irlen:

Immediate effect of calmness. Obvious expression of happiness. At the
time they were first fitted DJ was quickly becoming agitated after being
unavoidably place under fluorescent lights.
More relaxed stance generally.
Visual field opened up to 12'6" (375cm). Could see the author's whole
face. Picked up an unknown book and read with enthusiasm.
Looked out of the car window for the first time. Now enjoys the
scenery. Reports previously feeling very car sick.
Much more relaxed in social situations. No more "grounding / touching"
behaviour.
Coordination much improved.
No further "hitting" in the cloakroom. Much less affected by noise and
movement.
Visual problems eradicated. Some sounds still painful but no longer
make DJ jump. Smells, fabrics and foods tolerated much better.


MJ before Irlen:

Extreme stress.
Visually - print moves about, can only see one letter at a time. Unable
to see whole faces as the picture breaks up. Flat 2D vision. Visual field
4" (11cm).
Difficulty with speed and distance. Traffic jumps out from junctions.
Difficulty tracking moving objects. Poor balance and coordination.
Motion sickness when walking about, driving.
Social situations unbearable. Cannot make sense of environmental
movement. Jumpy. Bothered by noise. View of the world painfully
intolerable.


MJ after Irlen:

Effect is immediate. Marked reduction in stress.
All print stable, can read without effort. Visual field opened up to 15'.
Aware for the first time how "picasso" like vision is.
Traffic glides now. Driving much less stressful.
Complete eradication of motion sickness.
Less stressed in busy situations. Now aware of previous blocking-out /
daydreaming to reduce visual overload.


Conclusion

DJ has been assessed as high functioning - verbal IQ 140, Full scale IQ 132,
performance IQ 110. Despite his ability he has been unable to continually
access mainstream curriculum, due to refusal to work and challenging behaviour
(violence towards others). His communication prior to the application of Irlen
lenses had deteriorated to one word answers and electronic jargon. He was
head banging, self abusing, spinning and rocking almost continually. He
developed stress asthma, psoriasis, athletes foot, excema and frequent mouth
ulcers, all indicative of a stressed auto immune system. The observation of his
behaviour under fluorescent lights highlighted immediately why DJ found school
intolerable.

According to Morris (1999) stress stimulates the sympathetic nervous system.
The pupils let in more light and the acoustic nerves are stimulated to give acute
hearing ready for fight or flight. Continuous stress results in increased brain
endorphins (causing aches, pains and exhaustion), abnormal thyroid activity
(poor temperature regulation), physical skin discomfort (crawling), increased
white cell activity (destruction of normal cells) and lactic acid build up (muscle
pain). All of which are seen in autism.

Explanations for autistic behaviours

Obsessions

DJ has always been interested in electronics, which are logical and predictable
with a scientific approach. Electronic reading is ariel type font and schematic
diagrams making it easier to follow. His high ability in the subject along with
other's lack of ability meant that perhaps his ability would never come into
question. However, he often over inflates his ability which is indicative of his low
self esteem. He is also apt to complete an electronics project which then fails to
work because he has missed a vital piece of instruction. This may account for
his patchy learning in general.

Rhythmic behaviour

DJ has always displayed rhythmic behaviour despite many professional
attempts to eradicate these. Under stress (both positive and negative) he rocks
on his bottom or his feet. He also spins around the coffee table, and has been
noted to be confused at this time. Both DJ and MJ report rocking as a focus to
"tune out" sensory bombardment, or aiding concentration in a visually
stimulating environment.

Self abuse

Biting and head banging have been a common occurrence for DJ since birth.
He reports biting as stopping his skin crawling. He reports head banging as
making his eyes work or emptying his head. He is also notorious for facial
grimacing which was an attempt to cut down light intensity. Self abuse, which
was always evident under stress, has discontinued since the application of Irlen
lenses.

Fantasy / Reality distinction

DJ has often been identified as having difficulty distinguishing fiction from
reality. The author would like to offer an alternative to this view with a personal
anecdote to demonstrate reasoning.

DJ caused an uproar in the staff room of his primary school when he wrote a
story in which he said

"On Wednesdays dad baths us and dries us with a blowlamp".

If this sentence is viewed in the context of Leslie's metarepresentational theory
the following applies. Without a visual representation there would be no mental
representation as already stated. Without a mental representation one cannot
build a concept of "is like". Lack of the concept prevents appropriate
communication of experience. It is possible that DJ's experience of being dried
by his dad was a burning sensation in line with sensory hypersensitivity. He
would not have the "is like" concept to communicate this.

DJ and MJ are highly sensing individuals who have developed what might be
described as a sixth sense in relation to animals and like minded people. They
are amazingly empathetic and animated towards people who are themselves of
a calm, quiet and patient disposition. Perhaps these individuals are no threat to
their sensory systems and ultimately no threat to their emotions.

Implications of Scotopic sensitivity on the learning environment

Reading

Difficulties with reading and contrast as previously discussed might result in the
following:

Slow choppy reading.
Loss of words, lines, sentences preventing the construction of
meaning.
Chunk reading - the individual might give the impression of skim
reading by actually homing in on relevant facts, reading o few
sentences and moving to the next fact. In this manner the body of the
text is missed resulting in loss of the plot. In DJ's case the inability to
read Times new Roman text has reduced his access to fiction. This has
been compounded by his light sensitivities being within the primary
colour range. He therefore was unable to watch cartoons. He refers to
fiction and cartoons as "non- sensical rubbish".


Memory

According to Middleton (1999) individuals retain 10% of information heard, 50%
if heard and seen and 90% if heard, seen and done. If DJ is concentrating to
keep visual information in focus he has to tune out white noise, which explains
why he was often perceived to be deaf. Tuning out may mean he loses
valuable auditory information. He learns better from practical situations where
he can relate his learning to real life. In a school science situation pre Irlen he
was extremely egocentric. This too has diminished since his success to learning
has been improved.

Computers can also aid learning for individuals with scotopic sensitivity. They
provide easier access to empty the contents of memory onto paper. They are
also a tremendous aid to storing factual information. As the background
contrast and text can be manipulated to aid reading they are tremendously
important to a child with Scotopic sensitivity. Many high functioning individuals
with autism are understood to be obsessed with computers. Perhaps they are
used by the child inadvertently to compensate for their own difficulties. DJ and
MJ support this view.

Communication

The previously discussed difficulties also have implications within
communication. Many stumble and stutter over words, forget everyday
vocabulary, many often have difficulty phrasing statements (Blackburn 1999).
With Scotopic sensitivity in mind, perhaps they speak as they read. DJ and MJ
report an inability to phrase what they wish to say because their head are full,
information therefore tumbles out in hap-hazard fashion. As a fellow
communicator the author supports their views.

The way forward

DJ and MJ have been wearing Irlen lenses for three and four months
respectively. Both are seeing subtle differences in relation to sensory
experience. Both are less jumpy, less impulsive, less emotionally charged,
better able to read think and communicate. Both have seen a marked reduction
in rigid, obsessive and ritualistic behaviour. Their confidence is increasing as
others report their own observation. Both report a marked reduction in
hypersensitivity both sensory and emotionally. Both report eating a more varied
diet. Both report better sleeping habits and the ability to actually get off to
sleep. Both report a marked increase in the ability to concentrate. To date 45
others are following the Irlen experience and the research continues.

I am not suggesting that Irlen lenses are a cure for autism. The suggestion is
that Irlen lenses cut down sensory overload significantly to enable valuable
learning to take place. The suggestion is also that Scotopic sensitivity may be
the primary deficit in autistic spectrum disorders. The only word of caution to
make if you wish to follow this method is avoid high street optician tints. Irlen
use a medical model to precision tint which is not offered anywhere else.
Precision tinting is vital.

Irlen information can be obtained from the book: 'Reading By The Colors' by
Helen Irlen, Avery publishing, New York, USA. Color treatment with Irlen color
filters helps dyslexia. 85 Irlen Centres worldwide. References included in Irlen's
book, Website: www.irlen.com (http://www.irlen.com), or write:

Irlen Institiute,
5380 Village Road,
Long Beach,
CA 90808, USA.
Tel: 001 562-496-2550
Fax: 001 562-429-8699
Email: Irlen Institute@irlen.com

The full study (9000 words) can be obtained directly from the author.

References:

1. Baron-Cohen, S. (1995) Mindblindness: An essay on autism and theory of
mind. U.S.A MIT press.
2. Bettleheim, B. (1969) The empty fortress: Infantile autism and the birth of
self. New York: The free press.
3. Blackburn, J. (1999) An insider's view of autism.
http://planet.com/users//blackjar/ autism.html.
4. Carlton, S. (1993) The other side of autism: A positive approach. Worcester:
Self publishing association.
5. Geneva center for autism (1999) Autism, Schizophrenia and the Irlen
method. Leeds Handout from Irlen seminar at Beckett Park.
6. Grandin, T. (1996) Experiences with visual thinking, sensory problems and
communication difficulties. Colorado state university.
7. Hobson, R. P. (1989) Beyond cognition: A theory of autism. In G. Dawson
(ed.) Autism: Nature, diagnosis and treatment, pp.-48. New York: Guilford.
8. Hobson, R. P. (1993) Autism and the development of mind. Hove: Lawrence
Erlbaum.
9. Irlen, H. (1997) The world of misperception. Irlen coloured filters. Latitudes, 2,
5, pp.-17. California.
10. Leslie, A. (1987) Pretence and Representation: The origins of "Theory of
mind". Psychological review, 94: pp. 412-26.
11. Middleton, C. (1999). Personal communication.- ENB 998 course. University
of Huddersfield.
12. Morris, B. (1999) Why stress could be good for your body: Good health
research. Daily Mail Tuesday May 25 p45.
13. Ozonoff, S. (1995) Executive functions in autism. In Schopler, E. Mesibov,
G. B. (Eds) Learning and cognition in autism. New York: Pleneum.
14. Riley, D. (1999) Irlen centre web page Kent Irlen centre U.K. email:
101567.2412@compuserve.com.
15. Sacks, O. (1995) An anthropologist on Mars, London: Picador.
16. Tinbergen, A.N. E. (1983) Autistic children - new hope for a cure. George
allen and Unwin.
17. Williams, D. (1996b) Autism: An inside-out approach. London: Jessica
Kingsley.
18. Williams, D. (1998) Autism and Sensing: The unlost instinct. London:
Jessica Kingsley.j

speedo
05-29-06, 06:58 PM
Just for balance... here is a rather scathing critique of the "irlens" proponents...

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2843/is_4_28/ai_n6100519


When I was in college, I had a friend who was hypersensitive to red wavelengths of light.

She was also totally colorblind, and wore deep green tinted sunglesses with side shields.

Even at thast she found the red brakelights of cars to be intolerably bright.
I made a handheld photospectrometer for her so she could tell what color things were by pointing it at the object in question. She literally wore it out from use.

ME :D

janesays
06-04-06, 10:51 AM
I just read that some autistics and possibly some ADDers can pick up the flicker of florescent lights because electricity is not a constant flow there are about 60 "glitches" per second. I know that's not the scientific explanation but I I've experienced this before. I am also very sensitive to headlights, street lights and bright signs when I am driving at night. It's almost caused me to go in the ditch before. If someone has their brights on and are coming at me on the highway sometimes I have to slow down or pull over. I even use the trick where you look at the fog line but it doesn't help.

speedo
06-04-06, 12:44 PM
It is a fact. If I am extremely stressed (read that as "sensory overload") I can sometimes see fluorescent lights flicker. It looks like dark bands undulating down the length of the fluorescent lamp tubes. It is a bit distracting. I have ADHD combined type.

Not only can some adders and some autistics see it, so can some persons with bipolar disorder. I'd also be willing to wager a shiny new dime that some persons with sensory integration disorder can see it too.

I sometimes find brights lights irritatiing, almost upsetting. It varies. It is one of the ways I can judge my degree of overload. If I start finding car headlights and street lights to be a bit bothersome I know that I am approaching my "limit" on sensory overload/stress and I need to do something to reduce my stress levels.

Me :D



I just read that some autistics and possibly some ADDers can pick up the flicker of florescent lights because electricity is not a constant flow there are about 60 "glitches" per second. I know that's not the scientific explanation but I I've experienced this before. I am also very sensitive to headlights, street lights and bright signs when I am driving at night. It's almost caused me to go in the ditch before. If someone has their brights on and are coming at me on the highway sometimes I have to slow down or pull over. I even use the trick where you look at the fog line but it doesn't help.

anamari
06-07-06, 11:52 AM
I am sensitive to light -but I think it is a different reason than the one the article is speaking about....

The upside of my sensitivity is that I see better in the dark than most people....

The funny part is that I close my eyes in most pictures were a flashlight is used and I give a lot of trouble to the people that are trying to take passport photos of me....

kvrrd
06-07-06, 12:09 PM
I see the flicker in lamps too. I worked with multiple monitors, the development one and various targets. I put them at different heights and distances so that my eyes can shift and change focal lengths. It REALLY helps with eye stress. I end up seeing the beats running through tv signals - and staring up close for pixel registration and color saturation, etc. Helps with developing animation too.
Night driving and lights bug me a lot - way more now than ever before.
I also got dedicated pair of prescription glasses with the focal point adjusted a few feet out that I use for computer work and so I end up doing the glasses switcheroo a lot.

dormammau2008
06-09-06, 08:22 PM
hey anmura an kvrrd yes iam very setive to all light ssound touch tast clours soooo meny diff thingss and like you i see very well in dark yes i see beats as well an the chprb bugs me an low sound on mast gets to me dorm

bandie08
01-10-08, 12:20 PM
the only light im sensitive to is florescent light

dormammau2008
01-11-08, 01:34 AM
all light iam

dorm

stormpje
09-13-08, 01:13 PM
i'm also sensitive for light but for the biggest part for sun light. when the sun shines i'm getting tired, my eyes feel weird, I get tears in my eyes.
but i haven't that much symtoms from the irlen syndrome. i think i'm just high sensitive for light (and a lot of other things)

speedo
09-13-08, 01:29 PM
If you dig down and research it on the net you eventually find that irlen syndrome is pseudoscience. However, the fact that some people are sensitive to light is a solid fact, indeed. :)

I did have a friend in college who had a genetic defect that rendered her totally color blind. It also left her extremely nearsighted and sensitive to strong lighting.
She wore cheap sunglasses all the time, which helped her tolerate her condition better.

ME :D

amu_d
09-13-08, 02:19 PM
If you dig down and research it on the net you eventually find that irlen syndrome is pseudoscience. However, the fact that some people are sensitive to light is a solid fact, indeed. :)

I did have a friend in college who had a genetic defect that rendered her totally color blind. It also left her extremely nearsighted and sensitive to strong lighting.
She wore cheap sunglasses all the time, which helped her tolerate her condition better.

ME :D

If you could take a guess, what percent of ADD/ADHDers do you think have hypersensitivity to light?

speedo
09-13-08, 08:49 PM
I've read that approximately 20% of people who have adhd have sensory issues.

I know that all of my senses are involved in my hypersensitivity but that hypersensitivity to sound is the one that really bothers me. Others say that touch is a biggie for them.

Based on my experience, I'd venture to guess that most of the ADDer's who are hypersensitive also likely experience at least some issues visually along with tactile and auditory sensitivities.

What I mean to say is that sensory overload is not confined to just one of the senses, but that one sense always seems to dominate.


Me :D

amu_d
09-13-08, 11:26 PM
I've read that approximately 20% of people who have adhd have sensory issues.

I know that all of my senses are involved in my hypersensitivity but that hypersensitivity to sound is the one that really bothers me. Others say that touch is a biggie for them.

Based on my experience, I'd venture to guess that most of the ADDer's who are hypersensitive also likely experience at least some issues visually along with tactile and auditory sensitivities.

What I mean to say is that sensory overload is not confined to just one of the senses, but that one sense always seems to dominate.


Me :D

I have hypersensitivity too, but in my case it's emotional hypersensitivity. As an analogy, it's the type of hypersensitivity people with Bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder experience.

Many times I've been able to almost "become" the person, it's really creepy and limits my social life. Many times I find myself at home and not meeting people because I overload if I do.

It's the exact same problem you have. Except replace "bright light" with "the conscious of others." The physical presence of others causes me to go into overdrive. This is the cause of my agoraphobia as well.

One of my doctors was afraid I might be at risk for psychosis, because my experiences have been more extreme than those experienced by most ADD/ADHDers.

My life would be much better if I decide to take a mood stabilizer. BUT I can't take a mood stabilizer due to the side effects. If you know of a "light" mood stabilizer that gets the job done without adverse short term or long term side effects, please let me know.

Michellee7
09-16-08, 01:48 AM
I can completely relate to what you are saying. I have light and audio sensitivities. I have never in my entire life been able to figure out why. The fact that it is being related to ADD is one of the reasons I joined this site. The information here has been amazing.

I recently had a hearing test done at work, results were great. However, the fact that so many sounds drive me absolutely bonkers isn't as great. What most people consider as acceptable noise, makes me very edgy. Plus the fact that background noise makes it impossible for me to focus on anything.

Years ago, when i explained to my eye doctor, my sensitivity to light and difficulty at night with bright lights, she just chalked it up as "it's my system". I never really grasped her explanation. She said it was neurological. Yet I have wonderful vision. I constantly wear anti-glare glasses when on the computer and driving at night. Helps big time! Ear plugs have been great too :O) Hard to meet men though, when you have large orange plugs hanging out your ears! Sorry.....just my attempt at being funny :O)

anonone
09-18-08, 06:14 PM
I have light sensativity problems, along with reading problems. I can see blacklights, lol. They radiate (at 60hz i spose) intensity in waves. It slightly washes out all the color of what i'm looking at, everything becomes whiter. These lights are uncomfortable for me to look at. I kinda figured that was what happened with everyone but now i'm not sure.

I also have an extreme squint when I go outside in the sun. My eyes water on bad days too. I think this is related to an exotropia of some sort. It's interesting that the urge to squint dissapears immidiatly when I cover one eye. Would covering one eye produce the same effect as these special lenses? I didn't see any details about squinting so I can't be sure if this scotopic filter theory is related to squinting, and is probably due to something else such as "Squint (strabismus) is the term used for the condition when the eyes are misaligned and not looking at the same thing." http://www.surgerydoor.co.uk/medical_conditions/Indices/S/squint_and_double_vision.htm

The first thing to look for before buying into hype is, how much of it is a story about someone who has problems, but is then cured after buying this product. Shouldn't blind folding our selves solve all our learning problems if what they're saying is true? This looks sketchy to me -seems marketed towards mothers with problem kids, yet I relate to some of it. I can only see the first 4 letters of a word (accurately) at a time, and so I guess the rest of the letters based on my weak, weak pereferial vision. I also avoid going outside. Oddly enough, I find that easier to do when I'm wearing noise cancling ear buds that aren't on. I find it difficult to do handy work, or vacume with out ear plugs of some kind. Reading is a big problem for me too. I really wanna figure out how to improve.

jaimeparis
10-21-08, 03:23 AM
Yes! I went to a school which had two buildings- one with florecent lights (new building) and the other with regular/ natural light. I could not focus in the new building, got headaches/ migranes from the light and felt irritated. The old building I was relaxed and got better grades. I still have trouble focusing in florescent light and do see the flicker. It makes me anxious and uncomfortable. Great to know its not just me!

reesah
10-21-08, 03:30 AM
don't know if this works but I like some others in this thread can see flourescent lights flicker, and get headaches f I have to work under them or be in that lighting for more than a few minutes

kello2005
04-30-09, 03:10 PM
I'm very sensitive to light of all kinds. But especially florescent lights...they drive me crazy! I can see the flicker...and I start to fixate on it and can't focus on anything else. I'm so glad that other people see the flicker too, b/c I was started to think I was crazy!! But beyond the flicker...I can almost see stuff (no idea what) kind of moving around in the light...almost like it's a liquid...weird...

I also cannot stand overhead lights in homes...I can always see the light above my eyes and it's distracting. My boyfriend thinks I'm being dramatic and picky b/c I never want his living room over head light on...I am going to show him this thread to prove that it's not my personal preference...I just can't stand lights!

I am all about lamps...lamps, lamps, lamps...with dimmers!

ADDSCTmehave
05-02-09, 11:16 PM
hmm ive always seen flourescent lights flicker..thought this was normal

silverstreams
06-19-09, 03:26 PM
Sensitive to sun, I need to wear sunglasses or narrow my eyes to squinty slits. At times I've just walked down the street with my eyes completely closed rather than constantly squint - it was more comfortable just to close them.

Sometimes (when I'm tired or bored, prime ADHD time) all the lights in the room are suddenly too bright. It's as if someone flipped the light switch up a couple of notches, and EVERYTHING is suddenly too bright, especially anything white.

Yesterday I was sitting in the kitchen and this happened to me, and I couldn't even look at the plastic plates or paper napkins for more than a couple of seconds, because they were SO white!

Annwn
06-20-09, 02:30 AM
I just want to say kudos for supplying counter point. So few people do that and I just really admire that mindset.

This may or may not be related to your friend with red sensitivity, but there are some women (only women) that have an extra rod (or cone?) for sensing a subset of the red spectrum. These women are incredibly color sensitive, but more in terms of able to detect subtle variations. The gene for this capability is on the X chromosome so men are not able to have this variation.

Wikipedia has a slightly different take on occurrence:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetrachromacy

Here is another link:
http://scienceray.com/biology/human-biology/tetrachromats-some-women-see-extra-colors/

ginniebean
06-20-09, 02:47 AM
Until now I had no idea that everyone couldn't see the flickering of flourescent light. I just assumed it was normal. If I am in flourescent light it slows me down, to the point of making me fall asleep if I have to pay attention at the same time.

Annwn
06-20-09, 12:09 PM
Until now I had no idea that everyone couldn't see the flickering of flourescent light. I just assumed it was normal. If I am in flourescent light it slows me down, to the point of making me fall asleep if I have to pay attention at the same time.

Fluorescent lights cycle at 60hz which most people don't really notice.

Computer monitors, the tube kind, normally refresh at 60hz too. Not many people use the tube monitors any more (I still do - love them) but when they did, if I had to use them at 60 cycles, I found it intolerable. Usually you could up the refresh to 75-85 per second, but I once worked in a lab that had equipment that would not allow this - horrible!

I am not that sensitive to most things, but things that cycle in the 55-68 range really bother me.

KDLMaj
06-20-09, 02:31 PM
Hrm, it's not normal to notice fluorescent lights flickering? Go figure.

Irlen's Syndrome may be highly criticized, but I will say that the use of color filters dramatically improves my reading. It's the only thing that stabilizes the text. For that, I'll always be in debt to the Irlen Institute.

Spaced_In
06-30-09, 08:54 AM
i'm really sensitive to light especially sunlight, i always wear my sunnies when i ride my bike even if its cloudy coz it's still glarey. i hate bright lights as well

Justtess
07-02-09, 12:23 AM
My oldest son has hypersensitivity to all 5 senses as an infant. When he was able to verbalize his discomfort, he said sudden bright light felt like knives stabbing into his eyes. He mentioned the same feeling with sudden bursts of sound... knives stabbing into his ears. When he was born, Brazelton had his own tv show on infant development and he had researched 'coliky' babies who shared hypersensitive traits. I learned about various calming techniques and hoped this sensitivity disipates as he matures (at least that is what his book suggests).

I've recently read the book Too Loud, Too Bright, Too Fast, Too Tight which I found to be enlightening on neurosensitive people. I don't think I touched this topic for a while.


From Speedo's original post:

This sensitivity slows down the timing by which the brain receives and processes
visual information, resulting in varying degrees of dyslexia, attention deficit and
autism depending on the individual. Although the individual may have any one
of the three diagnoses there may be times when he does not really fit the
clinical picture. Physical effects of Scotopic sensitivity include photophobia
(especially under bright light and fluorescent lighting), eyestrain, headaches,
photosensitive epilepsy, stress and fatigue. Reading difficulties result from
visual distortions of the printed page caused by high contrast (black print on
white paper). The high functioning child often reads well, thereby masking the
SS, but may be hyperlexic. 81% of individuals with autism report these visual
distortions of their whole environment (Geneva Centre 1999). In many their
visual field of focus is as small as 10cm meaning their eyes have to flit all over
to take in a whole scene. This results in blurred, fragmented and multiple vision
and extreme stress.


This describes my younger son. He has Amblyopia and his eyesight used to change every 4 weeks in one eye when he was younger. The regular treatment as in patching didn't work as he was referred to a neuroophthamologist. As a kindergartener, he would sometimes say the letters dance on his page, the sky was sometimes vertical (?), and thought the world around him is suppose to get blurry after focusing on it a little. He's an auditory learner and had actually learned reading a little backwards.... sound first then symbol. His kindergarten teacher would insist he has ADHD and even today, I have to remind his teachers he will see the board much better from a distance (farsighted). His math teacher thought he might be ADD... until I explained his eye impairment and his learning style. He doesn't care too much about watching videos or looking at the board. He has to hear it.

KitKat
09-18-09, 06:15 PM
Reading difficulties result from visual distortions of the printed page caused by high contrast (black print on white paper).
I am amazed that someone else is aware of this.

I may have posted in the past, that when I was issued textbooks in school, and saw the pages were beige, I was relieved, as I knew I'd be getting an A. If the pages were stark white, my heart sank, for I knew it would be a struggle to learn the material.

I was in gifted and a high achiever, so I could read the material outloud and not sound like I had reading difficulties, but text on white pages was just so "cold" and hard to absorb when studying. Text on beige pages was "friendly", and I could concentrate on it until I understood it.

Sometimes books piles would contain some white and some beige versions. When it was my turn, I would quickly flip thru as many as I could, hoping to spot one with beige pages. Worn out books tended to be beiger (probably due to older paper yellowing), so I would look for those.

I didn't even realize this was a text/paper contrast issue at the time. To me, classes with beige pages were just easy classes, in the same way that some kids find english classes are always easy and math classes are always hard.

I've always had major light sensitivity and never noticed it. It was just second nature to me to buy 15W bulbs for all my lamps, twist off the flourescent tubes above my desk, come to work at 5am when the lights were off, dim the computer as low as possible, avoid restaurant tables with a hanging light overhead,etc.

After DS was dx with ADD, I saw a list of SPD traits. I had always known about sensory disorders, but never realized my behavoirs fit the description, or that my habits were even "unusual". I soon realized I had light sensitivity, and also sound, touch and even food texture issues.

DH would get SO irritated at my light requests, so after realizing I had SPD, I tried to explain it to him. I said I must have had this my whole life, and described my textbook experience to him. He looked at me like I had just suggested we stab our eyes for fun, and said that was the most ridiculous thing he had ever heard.

I truly thought it might be related, and analyzed it, realizing it was a contrast thing, which strained my eyes. I also saw how my ADD added to it, as I kept getting distracted from the content, and couldn't block out noticing how the letters looked on the paper.

I had a passing thought that some researcher might be interested in my experience. So to see that it's actually been documented, is just amazing to me.

I sure wish someone had known about this 35 years ago, and had noticed me seeking out beige book - life could have been a lot easier if I had been aware of this before age 43!

crashbang
12-05-09, 11:21 PM
having recent (well flourecents have always bothered me..but dont they bother everyone) sensitivity to light. But not natural light.
just anything indoor.
argh..so frustrated. it could be a million things..will read article.
woohoo.

crashbang
12-05-09, 11:24 PM
holy $#%^!

"Physical effects of Scotopic sensitivity include photophobia
(especially under bright light and fluorescent lighting), eyestrain, headaches,
photosensitive epilepsy, stress and fatigue. Reading difficulties result from
visual distortions of the printed page caused by high contrast (black print on
white paper). The high functioning child often reads well, thereby masking the
SS, but may be hyperlexic. 81% of individuals with autism report these visual
distortions of their whole environment (Geneva Centre 1999). In many their
visual field of focus is as small as 10cm meaning their eyes have to flit all over
to take in a whole scene. This results in blurred, fragmented and multiple vision
and extreme stress."

this describes me perfectly.
I'm going for testing for epilepsy soon.
I jave had major problems with vision at computers and under floorecent lights.
It has become so bad I asked my work (a corporate office to remove the light above my head) and they did! Major eyestrain, headaches, when i was little seizure activity.
wow..i'm going to look into this more.

Lost Focus
12-22-09, 02:29 PM
I certainly do. It's a challenge to be outside in the sunlight without sunglasses on. I suppose it's been that way for the better part of 20 years, but that was also about the time I began wearing sunglasses frequently. I've been a diehard Oakley fan since then, and tend to upgrade every two years or so. The lens needs to wrap my eyes, and what a difference polarized lenses make.

If I do go outside without them and it is sunny, it's an instant shock of pain to both eyes, and I can stay outside so long as I squint tightly to minimize light exposure. Once back in the house, because my pupils shrink so much, everything is dark for a fair amount of time before leveling out.

Sometimes, I can see the pulsing of fluorescent bulbs, but I think it tends to be more when the bulb is nearly it's end-of-life.

The one thing I remember about seeing flickers, is that 60Hz on a CRT monitor would give me one hell of a headache. I couldn't look at one for more than a few seconds. 75Hz was better, but I could still see a bit of the flicker. 85Hz was supreme.

Lunacie
12-22-09, 03:28 PM
Yeah, I'm very sensitive to light (and other things) too. Funny, but florescent lights are no worse than other lights for me. It seems to be the degree of brightness - and that contrast - that make it most troublesome. Driving at night is very difficult - but driving in the daylight is no better because the sunlight reflects off all that glass and chrome right into my eyes.

The blue headlight are much worse for me to face than even ordinary headlights on high beam. Some taillights are too bright and I tend to close my eyes while waiting for the light to change so the driver ahead of me will release the brakes. Someday I'm going to spring for an expensive pair of Blu-Ray sunglasses to see if that makes any difference. Would really like to find some locally and see if they help before spending that much money though.

Instead of squinting in bright sunlight, I tend to close one eye completely. It looks like I'm walking around winking at everyone. I've also closed my eyes for a few steps, took a quick look, and closed them again when the light is too bright for me.

There was another thread around here about sensitivity to noises, I seem to remember. And of course I can only wear soft cotton fabric. I have wide feet so I spent a miserable childhood kicking off my shoes at every opportunity. I love Crocs (and MockCrocs) because they're comfortable for me. Comfort is more important than style in my books.