What is Photosensitive Epilepsy? - Epilepsy Queensland

Photosensitive epilepsy

A type of epilepsy, in which all, or almost all, seizures are triggered by flashing or flickering light such as strobe lights, sunlight or television.

Both natural and artificial light may trigger seizures. Some patterns, like stripes or checks, can also trigger seizures for some people with photosensitive epilepsy. Some other potential triggers to be aware of include:

  •          ceiling fans
  •          cinema films
  •          computer and video games
  •          flashing lights- bicycle, Christmas lights, novelty badges etc.
  •          fluorescent strip lighting 
  •          television

Various types of seizures can be triggered by flashing or flickering light however, the most common is a tonic-clonic (convulsive) seizure.


Many people think that everybody with epilepsy has photosensitive epilepsy. In fact, it’s not common with approximately five in every 100 people experiencing this condition. This type of epilepsy usually begins before the age of 20. It is most common between the ages of seven and 19 with more girls than boys affected. Photosensitive epilepsy often remits by adulthood.

Medication is an effective treatment and desensitising techniques have been used successfully with some photosensitive epilepsies.

For further information regarding including safety suggestions to reduce your exposure to triggers you can contact our Services team on 07 34 355 000 or 1300 852 853 (outside Brisbane).

Epilepsy Queensland