Lifestyle/Work Question

Hi everyone (hope this is in the right forum category)

I’ve been suffering with mav for over 3 years now, and have managed to keep working but I’m finding it increasingly difficult

For the last month my symptoms have come on much worse. I thought it sounded silly & that the lights at work were to blame and today I found out they HAVE recently changed the lightbulbs, but what can I do? They seem to be an incredibly major trigger, but I can’t see what I can do to help.

Any advice on how you manage daily with fluroescent lights, I’m very concerned, if I continue to react with these symptoms and take more sick leave Im going to get sacked

thanks for reading

I’ve been wondering about what accounts for the effect fluorescents have on folks. They don’t seem to bother me particularly, though some days I simply have trouble with bright light, period.

Historically, fluorescents would suffer about a 50% diminution in output after a year of operation. I believe that the numbers have improved with newer designs, but certainly if fluorescent tubes are left in operation long enough to darken at the ends, they will be much less bright. Also, whatever the type of light, if it stays in place for some time it gets . . . dirty. So there are multiple reasons for changing lamps to cause difficulty simply because of increased brightness. That would be my best guess.

Hannah, I think, and I believe others talked about finding benefit from wearing sunglasses, particularly red-tinted ones. I know that I will wear my shades on a bad day, and I recently ordered a tinted pair to see whether this works particularly well for me too.

Some people, particularly seizure-prone sufferers, find the flickering of fluorescents (or strobes) to be a trigger. I suspect this is not true for efficient modern fluorescents with electronic ballasts, because the on-off cycles are incredibly brief, beyond subliminal. Older-style magnetic ballasts, the type in the cheapest fixtures, are a different matter.

Hi Soph,

It’s amazing that you brought this up today because this week that’s exactly what I’ve been doing – moving my office space. I have been sitting in the same spot for over 2 years and then a girl who works in another area told me how her headaches dropped off to zero when she got out of the light. So for the last 2 weeks I’ve been sitting in a new spot 3 days/week where there is only natural light coming through and no fluoro lights. I feel much better by late efternoon, no question. Today I was told that I can move to the new spot permanently.

Can you not make this a case based on health reasons? Here at the university, they have to act on these sorts of things. It’s in your company’s best interest to sort you out because it will boost your productivity.

Good luck with it all.


Hi Sophie,

I’ve always had problems with flickering lights. I had to walk out of a stadium show recently as they were flashing strobe lights into the audience (why do that??). Fluoro lights bother me too. I’m lucky that at the moment at work I’m able to sit at a desk which is by a window and not under a direct fluoro. In other offices I’ve just unscrewed one or all of the lights if possible. Maybe you could try that? Depends on how nice your employer is I guess.

Good luck

Sophie, at my work I have the same problem. They got an electrician in who changed them to high frequency fluo lights.
Now I dont know the details of it all but aparently they flicker too fast for the eyes to notice or something.They do help a bit but didnt get rid of the problem completely.One issue is that the newer HF lights are brighter (I think its called a daylight tube) and that in itself is a problem…I think the best answer is to try and get away from the lights and computers as much as you can…Not always possible though!!!


Fluorescent lights are big problems for me too and I’m a teacher who shares a classroom with another teacher! We’ve worked around it by turning half of the lights on and I have have brought in multiple floor lamps. The mix of the incandescent helps tremendously and we always leave the shades open to allow some natural sun light to come in.

Fluorescent lights are a HUGE problem for me. I find that most doctor’s offices are the worst. When I go to see Dr Hain, I check in and they let me go to his conference room to wait. I also wear sunglasses and a baseball cap if I go places that I know the sun will be excessively bright or I can’t avoid the flourescent lights. I wear my blue sunglasses indoors quite a bit.

Dr Hain sent me to a neuro-optometrist. She was a huge help, although between a set of prescription glassess, a set of wrap around sunglasses and her exam (which took almost 90 minutes), it cost $800. Not much was covered by insurance. :frowning:

I always try to work in a room with a window and turn the lights off. In the winter, I have a small light of my own to light my desk in my office until there is enough natural light. I am lucky to have m own office. When I travel to other clinics, I have found rooms to work in that have windows. The only problem is the hospital, where the dept is in the basement. I find that I need to take “natural light breaks” and go outside every once in a while.

Sorry this is long!


I found that when we put in a new fluo light in the office it disturbed me right away , I felt it immediately . We then changed the bulb to a less white fluo lamp and I had no problems. Lucky my electrician gets weird feelings with some lights so he was happy to play around and suggested a more yellow light for the fitting.


Chris, as Penny noted, “Daylight” fluoros are just a particular color. The higher the color temperature, e.g. 5000, the more they shift toward blue; the lower, e.g. 3500, the warmer the color, meaning more yellow.

The last numbers I saw on tube brightness were that it reduces to abut 70% after 1000 hours continuous use. So new tubes, after a year or three of the existing tubes being in place, is going to make things a lot brighter. Fortunately, even with non-dimming fluorescents (the types of fixtures designed for dimming are far more expensive, and you DON’T want to try to dim the ordinary type) most modern electronic ones will run happily with anywhere from all to one of the tubes in place, so removing one or more becomes a real option.

David, when the electrician changed ours to the high frequency lights, the lights no longer have one of those little ‘starters’ that plug into the side but a large white box on the end??? I dont know if that makes any sense as we may use different types in the UK…As I said, didnt get rid of the problems completely but did help somewhat


Sure, Chris, the starter design is only used with magnetic ballasts, the ones that set lights on and off at line frequency, 60 cycles per second in the U.S., 50 in Europe/UK etc. Go up to 50 000 cycles per second, or whatever, and they might as well be on continuously.

The remaining problem could have to do with the amount of light, the color of light, or hell, the ergonomics of your work station!

Hi Sophie,
Yes fluros WERE a huge problem for me, before medication.
Within 10 mintues of being under floro’s, I started having migraine aura.
confusion set in then BANG! I couldnt move.
Horrid things.
Looky here… … 927-5.html