idiopathichypersomniac73

Flashing Lights

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I had started falling asleep while driving a few months ago. This has been and off and on reoccurrance for me. I had a sleep study done and was diagnosed with idopathic hypersomnia and put on Nuvigil. It seems to be helping for the most part but I still start to doze when I drive past trees and the light is flashing through. It's nothing close to what I used to experience, but its still troublesome. Does anyone else experience this with flashing lights?

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flashing lights/certain auditory beats can induce seizure in some, primarily epilepsy of course, but can also contribute to road hypnosis as well.  Not all seizures are the violent twitching we see in the media.  It could be a secondary neurological issue, perhaps, but might be worth investigating.

 

Sunglasses or tinted windows help at all?

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The flashing of sun through the trees is very much a problem for me when driving. Makes me really sleepy. Fortunately it's not so much of a problem where I live now...not that many trees on the side of the road and I'm usually only doing short distances anyway.

I need distance glasses to drive and, when I first noticed the problem, went to the kind of lenses that darken automatically in the sun. It made a difference...also playing loud music in the car with the window down and singing at the top of my lungs.

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I wear glasses and once I can afford it I want to get a pair of the transition lenses. But from what I can remember from when I still wore contacts, sunglasses didn't help much. Funny thing is though, I can be around strobe lights and not be affected. However if it's a slower frequency of flashing lights, like the light through the trees or the lights on a cops car, my eyes start twitching back and forth and start to roll back and all the sudden I'm dreaming. The Nuvigil has helped a lot to this and I'm not nearly as sensitive to it now, but I can still feel myself wanting to doze on occasion. But its only to the lights now, as where before I didn't need anything to trigger it. I would be driving and feel really weak and shakey in my arms and legs, and then my eyes would start going crazy, and then I would wake up and somehow still be in my lane. I'm so happy the Nuvigil is helping, but I'm just worried that maybe something else is causing the sensitivity to the lights.

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I've never had a seizure, or cataplexy, but that sounds like a very, very mild one.  be careful if you do get checked out for it, because if it is a sign of something more serious, you could lost your license depending where you live.  I can relate to the experience though, strobes are fine for me, but there's a very precise frequency that makes me kind of blank out.  You could change the frequency of the flashes between the trees by speeding up, or, by slowing down, if filtering the light doesn't help

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I really hope it's not seizures. My mom mentioned that and I just kind of dismissed it because she always thinks of the worst possible outcome. I will try changing up the speed I'm driving next time it starts to happen. What I experience from the lights is also what o would experience when falling asleep randomly throughout the day, so I've always just dismissed the sensitivity to the lights as part of that. The Nuvigil has cleared up the sleep attacks almost completely. I just wish I knew why the flashing lights still affect me. :/ I guess beggars can't be choosers, at least the medication is working for most everything else!

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If it's not a mild type of seizure, not the violent ones we see on TV, it could be Irlen Syndrome - http://irlen.com/light_sensitivity_self_test.php

 

I remember having light issues, though, I didn't fall asleep, I just sneeze (photoptarmosis)

 

If it's Irlen - you can get glasses tinted to filter the part of the spectrum that triggers it.  I would definitely recommend you do speak to a doctor, discretely.  If it is some sort of seizure, and has the potential to be worse, you're putting yourself, and potentially others, at risk when you're behind the wheel.

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So I did that little symptom test in the link and clicked yes to literally over half of them. Looked at the bottom of the page and it said saying yes to even just 3 means you might be helped by those tinted glasses. I did some extra research on Irlen Syndrom and it really describes SO much of what I always had issues with in school! Wow! I really wasn't expecting that at all. I wonder if I can get a pair of prescription sunglasses tinted with that stuff. I'd really love to see if it would help out! Thanks so much for suggesting Irlen's syndrom. Ihad no idea that even existed!

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Of course now I'm really scared to talk to my doctor about it. He knows I was falling asleep behind the wheel and made no mention of reporting me. So maybe I can talk to him about it? I'm buying a new car tomorrow... I don't wanna spend almost $14k on a new car and then have my license taken away! Ugh... why can't I just be a normal 22 year old?! That would be so great to just feel normal for once.

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Of course now I'm really scared to talk to my doctor about it. He knows I was falling asleep behind the wheel and made no mention of reporting me. So maybe I can talk to him about it? I'm buying a new car tomorrow... I don't wanna spend almost $14k on a new car and then have my license taken away! Ugh... why can't I just be a normal 22 year old?! That would be so great to just feel normal for once.

 

It may depend on your state, but, I'm not sure they're required to report it directly, it might be your responsibility, in which case, it's your decision.  One reason for the whole doctor/patient confidentiality is so you can openly discuss your symptoms without fear, to get the treatment you need.  Hope things work out!

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