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Rule 1: do not cause your customer to vomit - Grin with cat attached — LiveJournal
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Rule 1: do not cause your customer to vomit Sep. 22nd, 2005 01:53 pm
Just been in two shops with malfunctioning halogen lighbulbs, flickering in that very special way that attempt to make me pass out and/or vomit.

I'm wondering how widely shared this reaction is...

Poll #575274 Flashing lights

Are you sensitive to flashing / flickering lights?

Never
13(23.2%)
Occassionally
32(57.1%)
Frequently
10(17.9%)
Snowflake (?!?)
1(1.8%)

To what extent?

Mild annoyance
20(46.5%)
Severe dizziness
3(7.0%)
Fainting
0(0.0%)
Fit
0(0.0%)
Snowflake
4(9.3%)
Tags: ,

From: valkyriekaren
Date: September 22nd, 2005 - 01:01 pm (Link)
Usually a headache rather than the symptoms you describe.
From: dennyd
Date: September 22nd, 2005 - 01:44 pm (Link)
*de-snowflakes you*

<aol />


gah.
From: valkyriekaren
Date: September 22nd, 2005 - 02:33 pm (Link)
Oh now! Now I am no longer pure, pristine and white!
From: vicki_t_veg
Date: September 22nd, 2005 - 01:09 pm (Link)
They tend to set off my migraines after a while, I'm not photosensitive luckily.
From: themadcatlady
Date: September 22nd, 2005 - 01:09 pm (Link)
I also get a headache if the flickering/flashing goes on for too long. I am terrible with strobe light in clubs, me.... :(
From: zoo_music_girl
Date: September 22nd, 2005 - 01:14 pm (Link)
I can get queasy too. The worst thing is the flicker caused by sunlight through leaves when driving. I get a bit car sick anyway but the flicker makes it worse.
From: purplerabbits
Date: September 22nd, 2005 - 01:41 pm (Link)
If I'm feeling twitchy lights or noises can bring on a panic attack. Or a headache.
From: thekumquat
Date: September 22nd, 2005 - 02:00 pm (Link)
I tend to be only sensitive to it if I've got a bit of a headache already. Bright flashing lights that mean I can't see a wall mean I fall over (eg lots of nightclubs). I'm more sensitive to thumpy noises where I feel the vibration.
From: ladycat
Date: September 22nd, 2005 - 02:09 pm (Link)
Oh god yes, nightclubs with heavy bass (for people on base ;) make me feel incredibly sick.
From: thekumquat
Date: September 22nd, 2005 - 02:17 pm (Link)
Strangely I'm fine in a club as the music causes all sorts of vibrations, but music at a level like in restaurants is bad as I hear it solely like hammering on the wall.

The upstairs room in Slimelight has too much moving lighting for me to stand, so I have to get someone to hold me up and help me walk with my eyes shut through it, each time I go to the loo. At least the bar staff didn't think I was on anything after I started walking just fine at the other end!
From: dennyd
Date: September 22nd, 2005 - 03:21 pm (Link)
The bar staff at Slimelight are probably fairly confused by seeing a customer who isn't on anything.
From: thekumquat
Date: September 22nd, 2005 - 03:24 pm (Link)
Indeed, but after the initial surprise they were a lot less judgemental than in many places. If I were going to get off my face on pharmaceuticals, do they really think I'd be in Virgin Megastore, for example?
From: ladycat
Date: September 22nd, 2005 - 02:08 pm (Link)
I danced in a very ill fated production of Alice in Wonderland years ago. Being low budget they created the 'falling down the rabbit hole' effect by having Alice on a 10 foot ladder being spun one way, with 2 wreaths of dancers spinning around the ladder in opposite directions. They added flashing lights and a strobe, and every performance without fail I finished my sequence, aimed blindly for the wings, ran head first into drapes and crashed into the wall. I've never got on with anythng that's flashed since then, unless it's a pretty goth love!
From: silenttex
Date: September 22nd, 2005 - 02:31 pm (Link)
It's fairly rare for me, but when it happens usually I'll get eye pain and/or a headache, followed by nausea or dizzyness.
From: uon
Date: September 22nd, 2005 - 03:38 pm (Link)
I actually quite like rapidly strobing lights, for the way they tend to chop motion up into lots of little discrete jumps.
From: barakta
Date: September 22nd, 2005 - 05:15 pm (Link)
I get horrible headaches/migraines from flickering lights sometimes, and a dull headache at other times. Same for monitors running at <70Hz. I collapsed a couple of times at secondary school because of the lights in our physics lab flickered noticably to me, I complained after the first time but they didn't believe me.

I suspect the headache/migraine is secondary to vertigo induced by the lights. I currently have severe vestibular dysfunction and I don't notice dizziness till I'm at the vomiting/severe headache stage. Last time I was badly affected it was from a friend's monitor, and I spent 3 days with migraine type things because I didn't consciously notice the symptoms till I was already badly affected.

As a result I am super cautious of flickering lights and monitors. I won't stay near them and will turn them off where possible. It is probably a reasonable health and safety request to tell the shops that people are affected by flicker and could they fix it or turn it off. I won't stay in a shop/place with flickering lights. If it is a shop I'll just leave that area/shop but if it is a workplace I will ask them to fix the flickering or turn it off entirely. I guess I should alert shop employees to flickering horribleness so they can fix it.

I also get headaches from excessive fluorescant lighting like in a supermarket. It's just TOO bright and I suspect I am sensitive to the flickering. I take my hearing aid out so the noise on top doesn't send me loopy, but it's still difficult not to space out completely.
From: barking_watcher
Date: September 22nd, 2005 - 07:47 pm (Link)
I've noticed that the flashing orange lights used by on brakedown trucks and the like really sets my nerves on edge to the extent that I have to shut my eyes when I'm passing one.
From: fellcat
Date: September 23rd, 2005 - 01:58 am (Link)
Adding my own checkboxes:
[x] Migraine.
[x] Headache.
[x] Eyestrain.

Other visual triggers are:
  • excessively bright colours together, e.g. hot pink with lime green and electric blue,
  • excessively bright lights, even when steady, and
  • anything that causes flickering or flashing across my whole field of vision for a while, so intermittent strobe lighting is OK, but staring at a monitor with a low refresh rate isn't, which is not fun when IT departments disable changing of monitor settings.
From: sashajwolf
Date: September 24th, 2005 - 05:53 pm (Link)
Nausea.