Flourescent lighting

Just wondering if any one else feels very uncomfortable/ dizzy when exposed to flourescent lighting. In work the room that we have meetings in and lunch has flourescent lighting and just walking into it makes me feel really off and uncomfortable. Im currently on diet and the Nortriptyline but if i am exposing myself to the lighting does that mean i am triggering the migraine and therefore thats why im not getting any better. When i leave the room im still not feeling good but not as bad as when im in the room. Anyone else feel that way?

I do. Florescent lighting is a horrible trigger for me. I feel dizzy, disoriented and can become irritable until I get away from it. I also get a sensation of needing to shrink down - as in physically make myself smaller - away from the lights if the ceiling is low. Of course, after all that I end up with anxiety - either a few symptoms or a full-blown attack.

Usually my “treatment” is to leave the area of florescent lighting. If I cannot do that I will try distracting myself with something to do, or try meditating and at last resort, I’ll take a bit of klonopin.


Absolutely. Fluorescent lighting is one of the most bothersome environmental triggers for me. That’s why I avoid shopping in particular stores, etc.

Speaking as a pro (electrician, electrical and safety/health writer) there are a few reasons for fluorescent lighting to disturb sensitive folks. All of this, BTW, I have heard applies to linear, circular and U-shaped fluorescents, but I’m not clear about its application to compact fluorescents (CFLs).

Older fluorescents used magnetic ballasts, meaning they use higher voltage but retain the 60-cycle operation. For some, 60-cycle flicker is a problem, or they can experience a troublesome hum.

Newer fluorescents with electronic ballasts operate at such high frequencies that they are far beyond human senses.

Old or new, fluorescents can cause glare, depending on the fixtures and lumens.

Old or new, the color of the light can be disturbing, especially “cool white.” Changing this is simply a matter of swapping light bulbs.

That’s what we know in the field. Properly designed light-emitting diode fixtures are very bright but I’ve seen no reports thus far of problems with them stemming from anything besides brightness or direction of lighting.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced the winner of their contest for an LED that replaces a 60 Watt incandescent light bulb. $50.- list price, but a good investment anyway!

They bother me greatly and during meetings of over 15 minutes I wear dark sunglasses. I explained to my team that the light and the flickering make me feel awful and they were very understanding. Some days are worse than others depending on how I feel prior to the lighting exposure. I will also wear the sunglasses in big box stores too and don’t care what people think. lol The other day I met a friend at her child’s basketball game and the lighting in the gym was so bright it was just plain awful. Between that and the whistles blowing and sounds bouncing around I couldn’t wait to get the heck out of that gym!! I was actually feeling panicky:(


A big YES. When I started my latest job back in April 2011, I went to hell and back because of those damned lights. In the end I was moved near a window and all overhead fluorescent lights were unscrewed. I have to be at meetings frequently and I always make people sit in natural light if possible. Most prefer that sort of light anyway.

S :slight_smile:

Thanks for all your replies, at least I know I’m not the only one who feels like this. My problem is that I have to be in the room with the lights every day, does anyone think that that is why I am not getting any better because the lights keep triggering the migraine?

Until I was moved and turned the lights off I was in a very bad way at the new job. Weeks of relentless neck and head pain and I would look shocking by the end of the day. I had been dizzy from nerves (new job start) and just couldn’t shake that either. Moved and within a week it all stopped.

There’s another girl on my floor who also suffers migraine but not MAV. She saw the results I got and had the lights switched off over her head as well. Her migraines dropped away massively to about one a month whereas they were occurring at a rate of 3-4 weekly before that.

I would definitely get something done about this if you feel it’s a trigger. You’ll probably notice instant results.

Scott 8)

— Begin quote from “david shapiro”

Speaking as a pro (electrician, electrical and safety/health writer)

— End quote

If you lived a bit closer I could have a few jobs for you :wink:

Like others have said, I also react to fluorescent lights, although for me it’s one of those things that I can sometimes tolerate ok, but at others it sets off a migraine within minutes. I think it must depend on other factors that day, and how near to my migraine threshold I already am.

Flourescent lights are a huge trigger for me as well…lots of nausea and a very woozy head!!! I don’t look forward to HAVING to use them in our house now…just the brightness of those really bother me as well!!!
I have to wear a visor everywhere!!!


I used to feel bad after one weekly meeting - not horrible, but just kind of “off” and vaguely not well. And I actually liked the people I was meeting with and felt it was a good use of my time. So it’s apparently not a major trigger for me, but it was the only place I had to go that was totally cut off from any natural light: all flourescent lighting. Don’t have to go that meeting any more, so for my physical well-being, I’m glad I don’t have to go any more.

Two things.

First, I meant “Department of Energy,” not “Environmental Protection Agency.”

Second, please understand that when I threw in the technical material my intention was NOT to discount anybody’s experience.

It’s more that:

                . . . if the light's too bright, dark glasses can work like a charm, as we've heard. Also,some modern fixtures will let you take out some bulbs to improve the visual environment plus save the boss money.
                . . . if the flicker or hum's a problem, updating the fixture by replacing the ballast (guts) with an electronic version will both save the boss money and eliminate the flicker.
                . . .  if the color's a problem, changing the bulbs should do the trick. There are "daylight" bulbs etc.


Fluorescent lights triggered mild imbalance in me for years before my MAV diagnosis. In the past 6 months, the lighting has been a horrible trigger. The problem is, fluorescent lighting is used almost everywhere: work, stores, the gym, etc. I saw a neuro-ophthamologist at the Moran Eye Center at the University of Utah a few months ago. He recommended that I wear glasses with an FL-41 filter, which is a rose colored tint that somehow cuts the glare and flickering of blue wavelength light. It cost me @ $30 to have the tint applied, and it seems to be helping. You can look at their website and read about the research that has been done. There is good info about photophobia and photosensitivity,as it relates to migraines, as well. Now when people say that I view the world through rose colored lens I reply with,“You’re correct, I really do.” :smiley:

I am now able to go grocery shopping, to the gym, etc., without the intense rocking feeling that came on previously. Some stores, like IKEA, are still uncomfortable to me, but I think it is because of the constant motion around me, as motion is another trigger. I work as a teacher and am lucky my school put me in a room with a lot of natural light and allow me to leave the fluorescent lights off, but I wear my glasses because the rest of the school has blaring fluorescent lights. Hope this helps. Good luck!


Flourescent light DEFINITELY is a big MAV problem, and this includes the newer CFL bulbs. Don’t listen when people try to claim that the new CFLs aren’t “bad” like old flourescents. They really REALLY suck and trigger my problems in a bad way.

My symptoms are weird–my MAV triggers almost exclusively to bright light, but only bright ARTIFICIAL light. I can start outside on a bright sunny day for hours and hours and never have a single symptom. But put me at a restaurant table with a spotlight in my line of vision and I feel on a rocking ship in about 5 minutes. Computer monitors are also a big problem for me, though some technologies are better than others.

So far, my best answer has been these glasses from England: migralens.com/

I have NO idea if they work better than regular sunglasses because I really didn’t try sunglasses indoors until I bought these. But with these glasses I’ve been able to go back to work (I do computer work and I was out for about 6 months) and I’m about 75% symptom free if I always wear them in bright light/computer situations.

Supposedly they are based off of a study that found that migrainers react primarily to light at the extreme edges of the light spectrum, so they supposedly filter those out. As I said before, I honestly don’t know that they work better than regular sunglasses, but the advantage for me was that they have a pair you can wear over regular glasses, so I could continue to wear my reading/computer glasses and then put these over the top.

I stumbled on this forum looking up reasons for fluorescent lighting effects on me – sorry I not a migraine person. So briefly, I recently had a stroke at 49 yrs of age – a ‘mechanical stroke’ meaning it wasn’t due to blood pressure or diabetes or something of that nature. Very rare. Anyhow, I’m eight months out, dealing with vertigo although that is slowly diminishing and I can finally drive and work again. But fluorescents, especially in box store or the grocery, are like some new form of torture to me. They give me a head-ache, make me weaker and more dizzy and I can’t wait to get out from under them. I appreciate people’s sensitivity to them, but I never had an issue until now. Very strange. I can be seemingly fine, go into a store like that and - boom! – I need to cut it short. Hoping this isn’t a lasting side effect, but I ask that we re-examine these types of bulbs.

I was at my ENT today and the lighting they use in their exam rooms triggered me into near double vision. I couldn’t look up at the doc and couldn’t keep eye contact when I was talking with him because it bothered me so bad.


You’d think they’d know better. One of my worst migraines was triggered by a neuro-ophthalmologist.


I have an Office Depot near by that has a MASSIVE amount of fluorescents. I just don’t get why they do that, must be so expensive to pay the electric bill.


My GP’s waiting room is a problem for me. Swirly carpetting, plastic covered padded chairs that you sink into and strip flourescents that are often stuttering, air freshner plug ins, TV’s on flashing up NHS health infomatics but no sound and a radio playing to “mask” reception desk chat (people just talk louder). Just awful.


Oh, that’s a nightmare. After my ENT appointment I had to sit in my car for 10 minutes to wait for my vision to get back to normal. Such a pain, but thankfully it went away.