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Adverse physical reactions to certain kinds of lighting
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Adverse physical reactions to certain kinds of lighting

Hello,

Six months ago my workplace changed the lighting above my workstation.  They changed from a warmer colored fluorescent bulb to a brighter/white/blue colored bulb.  The bulbs' color temperatures went from around 3000k to around 4500k.

Both are fluorescent, and I had absolutely no problems with the old lighting, however this new lighting is making me miserable.  At work I deal with extreme eye pain (burning pain, aches), headaches, and nausea.  By the end of the day I feel fatigued and fluey.  Once I'm home, or anywhere away from that lighting (though nighttime driving can be very harsh as well), i start getting immediately better, and over a weekend i improve 100%.  But every Monday at work, it comes back.  My tolerance for this specific blue/white lighting is now much lower for other locations they exist (grocery stores, big box stores, etc) when before they didn't bother me.

I've been to multiple ophthalmologists and there is nothing wrong with my eyes physically.  I am going to see a neurologist this week, but I would like to know ahead of time what might be going on, so I can ask more specific questions in case they try to tell me there's nothing wrong with me!  Any help would be greatly appreciated!
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Avatar_dr_m_tn
Thanks for using the forum. I am happy to address your questions, and my answer will be based on the information you provided here. Please make sure you recognize that this forum is for educational purposes only, and it does not substitute for a formal office visit with a doctor.

Without the ability to examine and obtain a history, I can not tell you what the exact cause of the symptoms is. However I will try to provide you with some useful information.

There are several causes of headaches. Headaches can be divided into primary and secondary. Primary headache disorders are headaches without a direct cause. These are diagnosed after secondary causes have been excluded. Secondary headache disorders are due to an underlying problem. These are many. In your case, you may have a sensitivity to the wavelength of the light at your work as you mentioned. Seeing a neurologist would be useful to determine if you have a primary headache disorder (e.g., migraine). Questions that may include are those pertaining to prior headache history, seizure-like activity, family history, medications, stressors, etc. Based on the history and physical examination, further testing (such as MRI of the brain) may or may not be necessary.

Thank you for this opportunity to answer your questions, I hope you find the information I have provided useful, good luck.

2 Comments
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1925822_tn?1333709217
Ask a neurologist and get an mrt done.it does not have to be ur case... i was diagnosed with chiari and have the same issue...i am extremly sensitive to light,flourescent and noise aswell lately.but please it can be that u r just sensitive to light with no reason...
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