Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Dizzy with fluorescent lights
Old 01-19-2014, 11:25 AM   #1
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 5,604
Dizzy with fluorescent lights

I searched the forum and didn't find this topic. I was wondering if anyone here knows about this.
When I RE in May, I took over going to the grocery store for DW, it was a task she hated and I used to enjoy. Lately the grocery store has become my personal hell. Soon after I get in the place I get disoriented and become "dizzy", I've almost called 911 twice as I thought I was having a stroke. Every week it's horrible, I feel bad the rest of the day, I go off hours when the store is almost empty so I'm pretty sure it's not agoraphobia or panic.

My family Dr. asked do florescent lights bother you? I thought no, I spent 29 years under them at Megacorp. I thought surely anything that obvious I would had problems with. Of course for the last 20 years I had an office or cube with a window location, but I never noticed any issues. He's referred me to a neurologist, she asked the same question, got the same answer. They've done CT's and MRI's say my brain is normal(I know some will disagree).

She did help me with a severe cluster headache(aka suicide headache) that I've had for 3 1/2 years, so I'm feeling much better from that. She's also referred me out to a balance center, there doing 4 hours of testing at the end of the month.

I did Google florescent lights and dizziness, and came across this site:
https://vestibular.org/understanding...order/symptoms

It describes 90%+ of my symptoms. Has anyone here dealt with these kinds of issues? Any advice is appreciated.
Thanks in advance,
MRG
__________________

__________________
MRG is online now   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 01-19-2014, 11:42 AM   #2
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 2,370
From what I understand some people are senstive to the flicker rate of illumination. This can happen with any light source that turns on and off rapidly, including computer displays. Changing the flicker rate of the lights (or refresh rate of a computer display) usually makes the problem go away. The lights at a different grocery store may flicker at a different rate, one that does not impact you.
__________________

__________________
GrayHare is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-19-2014, 11:55 AM   #3
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Midpack's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Chicagoland
Posts: 11,983
I don't know much about it, but do fluorescent lights everywhere bother you now, or just that grocery store?

It's rare, but I've seen fluorescent lights that seemed to be flickering and it did induce a bad reaction for me (though not as severe as you describe). I always assumed it was a tube that was about to quit altogether.
__________________
No one agrees with other people's opinions; they merely agree with their own opinions -- expressed by somebody else. Sydney Tremayne
Retired Jun 2011 at age 57

Target AA: 60% equity funds / 35% bond funds / 5% cash
Target WR: Approx 2.5% Approx 20% SI (secure income, SS only)
Midpack is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-19-2014, 12:35 PM   #4
Administrator
W2R's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 38,949
I don't know anything about it either, but following up on Midpack's post, I have an idea. Go to a different grocery store, butcher shop, or farmer's market. See if that helps! Maybe try a SuperWalmart; surely you would have noticed this before, if it normally happens to you at Wallie World.

It's nice to know that one's brain is normal! I had CTscans done of my brain when I fainted last September and hit my head, and I was surprised and pleased to find that (despite rumors to the contrary ) my brain is completely normal as well.
__________________
Already we are boldly launched upon the deep; but soon we shall be lost in its unshored, harbourless immensities.

- - H. Melville, 1851
W2R is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-19-2014, 12:47 PM   #5
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
bbbamI's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Dallas 'burb
Posts: 9,039
Until you find out what is going on, perhaps you could wear sunglasses in the store....that might help.

I always wear my sunglasses while shopping as the lights seem too bright to me.
__________________
There's no need to complicate, our time is short..
bbbamI is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-19-2014, 01:29 PM   #6
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 11,020
Perhaps now that you are the official family shopper you are spending more time in the store than you formerly were. I agree with the advice to experiment with other stores, with sunglasses, etc. you might also ask the store manager what type of lighting they use and whether there have been other similar complaints. It's quite likely that your light sensitivity is related to your tendency to cluster headaches. Back in the day when I was in medical school (and later when I was a resident on the neurology team) I learnt that these were all part of the migraine spectrum. It 's probably still true.
__________________
Meadbh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-19-2014, 01:57 PM   #7
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Northern IL
Posts: 18,299
It could very well be that that store has the old style 'magnetic ballasts' in their fluorescent lights. These will flicker at 2x the line frequency, so 120 times per second here in the US. This can be very noticeable to some people.

The newer, electronic ballasts, run at up around 10,000 times per second, and this will not be perceptible as flicker (the phosphors in the tubes don't dim in that short of a time)

LEDBenchmark - Measuring Flicker

Look at the picture of the moving ruler in that link. You might get some idea by doing a simple test like that - the greater degree to which you can see individual ruler images, rather than just a blur would give some idea of the relative amount of flicker. Or maybe one of those little portable fans - if it 'strobes' under an old fluorescent light at home, that might be a good indicator (maybe paint the blades black and white).

A store with lots of natural light will reduce the flicker from the tubes, it will 'fill in' during the off times. I think another effect could be if the store has those black/white checkered floor tiles? Any pattern like that in the background might make this flicker more objectionable. The black/white receptors in our eyes are more sensitive to flicker also.

I've got some LED Christmas lights, and they don't do anything in these to reduce the flicker - I think each half of the string is half-wave rectified, so they are on for less than 50% of the cycle (until they reach a threshold voltage), so these really have a high degree of flicker. It is very noticeable if you move the lights around, they really 'strobe'.

Good luck!


-ERD50
__________________
ERD50 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-20-2014, 10:47 AM   #8
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 5,604
Thanks everybody. I knew I'd get some good ideas. I'll try the sunglass, and hat idea. It can't hurt. I had tried a couple of different stores, but with that cluster, it's been hard to know how I feel(other than pain) for some time.

I'm very grateful the neurologist found a simple fix, I'd suffered for years. My Dr. really was at a loss on how to help me, his last suggestion was oxytocin. He's not a guy that pushes pills or easily prescribes control substances, he was at a loss on how to help. I declined his offer, I'd lived on Percocet for a couple of months, and I really don't consider that to be a life. I do believe the cause of the clusters may make me more susceptible to the lights.

I did do a test last time, after I was already experiencing the dizziness. Looking up at the lights (now I know what a moth feels like), revealed a mixture of blues, reds, grey(burnt out) and flickering bulbs. This helps explain why I never noticed issues a Megacorp. They managed a lot of office space, and had engineering folks to manage the facilities. Obviously if your bonus depends on improving power consumption, you would have the latest and greatest technology.

So I'll try either a super Wal-Mart, or higher end food chain, both are the same drive.

Thanks again,
MRG

Quote:
Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
It could very well be that that store has the old style 'magnetic ballasts' in their fluorescent lights. These will flicker at 2x the line frequency, so 120 times per second here in the US. This can be very noticeable to some people.

The newer, electronic ballasts, run at up around 10,000 times per second, and this will not be perceptible as flicker (the phosphors in the tubes don't dim in that short of a time)

LEDBenchmark - Measuring Flicker

Look at the picture of the moving ruler in that link. You might get some idea by doing a simple test like that - the greater degree to which you can see individual ruler images, rather than just a blur would give some idea of the relative amount of flicker. Or maybe one of those little portable fans - if it 'strobes' under an old fluorescent light at home, that might be a good indicator (maybe paint the blades black and white).

A store with lots of natural light will reduce the flicker from the tubes, it will 'fill in' during the off times. I think another effect could be if the store has those black/white checkered floor tiles? Any pattern like that in the background might make this flicker more objectionable. The black/white receptors in our eyes are more sensitive to flicker also.

I've got some LED Christmas lights, and they don't do anything in these to reduce the flicker - I think each half of the string is half-wave rectified, so they are on for less than 50% of the cycle (until they reach a threshold voltage), so these really have a high degree of flicker. It is very noticeable if you move the lights around, they really 'strobe'.

Good luck!


-ERD50
__________________
MRG is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-20-2014, 03:24 PM   #9
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Chuckanut's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: West of the Mississippi
Posts: 6,337
Could it also be some change in what the store uses to clean? Or some new equipment or fixtures that might outgas or give off fumes? There are lots of things in daily use that can affect some people.
__________________
The worst decisions are usually made in times of anger and impatience.
Chuckanut is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-20-2014, 06:35 PM   #10
Recycles dryer sheets
IBWino's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 423
Quote:
Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
It could very well be that that store has the old style 'magnetic ballasts' in their fluorescent lights. These will flicker at 2x the line frequency, so 120 times per second here in the US. This can be very noticeable to some people.

The newer, electronic ballasts, run at up around 10,000 times per second, and this will not be perceptible as flicker (the phosphors in the tubes don't dim in that short of a time)

LEDBenchmark - Measuring Flicker

Look at the picture of the moving ruler in that link. You might get some idea by doing a simple test like that - the greater degree to which you can see individual ruler images, rather than just a blur would give some idea of the relative amount of flicker. Or maybe one of those little portable fans - if it 'strobes' under an old fluorescent light at home, that might be a good indicator (maybe paint the blades black and white).

A store with lots of natural light will reduce the flicker from the tubes, it will 'fill in' during the off times. I think another effect could be if the store has those black/white checkered floor tiles? Any pattern like that in the background might make this flicker more objectionable. The black/white receptors in our eyes are more sensitive to flicker also.

I've got some LED Christmas lights, and they don't do anything in these to reduce the flicker - I think each half of the string is half-wave rectified, so they are on for less than 50% of the cycle (until they reach a threshold voltage), so these really have a high degree of flicker. It is very noticeable if you move the lights around, they really 'strobe'.

Good luck!


-ERD50
+1 regarding magnetic versus electronic ballasts. Although I don't get dizzy, I can easily detect the flicker of the older style florescent lights with magnetic ballasts.
__________________
IBWino is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-20-2014, 07:38 PM   #11
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Helen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Portland
Posts: 1,355
I have Meniere's so I have frequented the menieres.org website quite a bit. Some of the people on that forum have mentioned having problems (dizziness, vertigo) when in stores.

Also, there is such a thing as silent migraines in which the symptoms present themselves as vertigo (MAV or Migraine Associated Vertigo).

Do you have any problems with your hearing, whooshing sounds, tinnitus, hearing loss?

I am sorry to hear you are having this problem.
__________________
Helen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-20-2014, 08:50 PM   #12
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 489
I have the same thing. I used to walk into a small elevator in an old bldg. and feel completely stunned and wonder if I might fall down. Weird and I never once suspected the lights and nothing terrible ever happened aside from the funny feelings. It was finally LAX that made me figure it out. I walked into LAX and could barely function. It felt as though my hearing was underwater and I could barely take a step. I couldn't speak at all. I found a discarded cart to hang onto and made my way outside. It was horrible and a stroke definitely crossed my mind. I knew it was the lights from that episode though.
__________________
tinlizzy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-21-2014, 05:37 PM   #13
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 5,604
Quote:
Originally Posted by Helen View Post
I have Meniere's so I have frequented the menieres.org website quite a bit. Some of the people on that forum have mentioned having problems (dizziness, vertigo) when in stores.

Also, there is such a thing as silent migraines in which the symptoms present themselves as vertigo (MAV or Migraine Associated Vertigo).

Do you have any problems with your hearing, whooshing sounds, tinnitus, hearing loss?

I am sorry to hear you are having this problem.
Thank you. I've read a little about Meniere's and there are similarities. Also read a very small about, MAV it too could be related.
The biggest thing, that no DR has given more than cursory attention to is my ears. I have pressure in them when I feel bad(airplane ear that never pops). I've let both DRS know. I don't know I have hearing loss, the balance folks asked about my last hearing test(last century). I'll make an issue about needing to see an ENT expert. I am a person that worked for years in industrial settings, before hearing loss and the j*b were considered. So that possibility exists.

Its good(but sad) to know also that other folks experience similar issues.
Thanks all,

MRG
__________________
MRG is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-21-2014, 06:46 PM   #14
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
ivinsfan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 2,201
Just a comment on your balance testing. My younger sister had this done several years ago for some vertigo issues. No problems were found, but she described the testing as the most unpleasant experience of her life. She felt blindsided by the entire episode. Hopefully you have a good idea of what is going to happen on test day.
__________________
ivinsfan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-23-2014, 04:31 PM   #15
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 5,604
Quote:
Originally Posted by ivinsfan View Post
Just a comment on your balance testing. My younger sister had this done several years ago for some vertigo issues. No problems were found, but she described the testing as the most unpleasant experience of her life. She felt blindsided by the entire episode. Hopefully you have a good idea of what is going to happen on test day.
Thanks, I asked they mentioned clamping my eyes open, watching violent scenes, all while listening to Beethoven.

They did give names of some of the common tests. I've reaearched and while they may seen unpleasant(not scary), at this point I don't have many choices.

Think I'm ok with the tests, if someone went in unprepared, I could see a bad experience. Thanks for the heads up.
MRG
__________________
MRG is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-29-2014, 10:24 AM   #16
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 5,604
Well 4 hours of testing, they say I have 'Visual Vertigo'. I was very impressed with both DRs I met with.
The first gentleman was easy to talk to, within 10 minutes he had ideas on what was wrong. He spent almost 2 hours with me, narrowing down where the problem was.

Then the audiology testing, not the most pleasant thing I've ever done. That was close to 2 hours as well. Both DRs sat with my comparing their results. The treatment is specialized PT. They both thought the first few sessions would make me feel worse before I get better.

Thanks to the group for all the great ideas. Both DRs agreed the flicker from florescent lights aggravated my perception of what was up, down, sideways, causing the feeling of dizziness and sicknesses.
MRG
__________________
MRG is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2014, 03:26 PM   #17
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 291
Never heard of Visual Vertigo; hope your treatment isn't too strenuous. I'm slightly queasy just reading about this. The only time I've had issue with the strobe-like thing is driving while it's snowing pretty hard. Something about looking into that snow falling at that rate, etc. and I start to get very queasy and my hearing starts to go just as if I'm about to faint. When that happens, I have to look down at the pavement and not out into the distance (hope that makes sense).

A couple of times per year, I have episodes of dizziness so sudden and so severe that should I be away from home, I do not know what I would do. Last time it happened was last April (I think). I felt great, the weather was perfect, and I was busy doing chores. I sat down in a recliner to take a break and when I reclined that chair, the bottom fell out. Home alone and knew I had to make it to the bathroom, I literally crawled to get there. Eventually crawled back to the sofa with a small trash can as my companion. Finally fell asleep and slept for hours. When I woke up, the nausea and dizziness was gone, replaced by intense fatigue. Who knows - maybe it's the migraine vertigo mentioned above, although I don't think I've ever had a migraine headache (my son suffers from them occasionally).

Anyway, I sincerely hope your docs can solve this dilemma. Dizziness is one of the things that scares me to pieces as it is so crippling.
__________________
bubba is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2014, 05:42 PM   #18
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Helen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Portland
Posts: 1,355
[QUOTE=bubba;1410562]Last time it happened was last April (I think). I felt great, the weather was perfect, and I was busy doing chores. I sat down in a recliner to take a break and when I reclined that chair, the bottom fell out. Home alone and knew I had to make it to the bathroom, I literally crawled to get there. Eventually crawled back to the sofa with a small trash can as my companion. Finally fell asleep and slept for hours. When I woke up, the nausea and dizziness was gone, replaced by intense fatigue. Who knows - maybe it's the migraine vertigo mentioned above, although I don't think I've ever had a migraine headache (my son suffers from them occasionally).
QUOTE]

This does sound like Migraine Associated Vertigo. The key is the fatigue you experienced. I would go into vertigo at work and after the vertigo passed (it was typically an hour or so attack) I could go back to my desk and continue working. From the menieres.org website and googling MAV, one of the symptoms of MAV is the fatigue a person feels after having the vertigo attack.

What I also learned is that some migraines are "silent"; they don't include the sensation of a headache.

They never did figure out what was causing my Meniere's and after seeing numerous specialists for a decade I just quit going, all they were doing was testing me over and over but they never were able to determine a cause. The roughest years for me was when I was going into menopause. Also, stress and fatigue were my biggest triggers and retiring has really helped that. Since a few months after retiring a lot of the distortion has gone away and I can converse (even in a restaurant) without wearing hearing aids for the first time in many years.
__________________
Helen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2014, 09:08 PM   #19
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 1,319
Hope they find out what is causing the problem. There are so many things that can cause dizzy/lightheaded feeling. Medications, inner ear infection, migraines ( I get or got them almost every morning. Cured finally), eye problems, low blood pressure. Hope it's something simple like my migraine cure.
__________________
splitwdw is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-02-2014, 09:41 PM   #20
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Northern IL
Posts: 18,299
Quote:
Originally Posted by bubba View Post
.... The only time I've had issue with the strobe-like thing is driving while it's snowing pretty hard. Something about looking into that snow falling at that rate, etc. and I start to get very queasy and my hearing starts to go just as if I'm about to faint. When that happens, I have to look down at the pavement and not out into the distance (hope that makes sense). ....
Wow, I don't really have any specific dizziness problems, but that snow issue resonated with me. The problem is, the headlights are lighting up those snowflakes, the changing wind is making them drift around a bit, and then they 'change course' as they approach your windshield and flow with the currents around the car. But you don't have much in the way of perspective, so they seem to be all dancing around, almost at random.

It can make for a pretty disorienting environment, and I can see how some people could be really affected by that.

-ERD50
__________________

__________________
ERD50 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
The Most-Common Fluorescent Light Tubes Are Going Away This Year Telly Other topics 65 01-16-2014 07:39 PM
Meaning of Fluorescent Bulb No.? kaneohe Other topics 7 07-18-2013 08:17 PM
I screwed up...fluorescent fixture ordered incorrectly freebird5825 Other topics 11 11-21-2011 08:35 AM
Screw-in Dimmable Compact Fluorescent Bulbs and Dimmable-CFL calmloki Other topics 14 08-05-2007 01:20 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:27 AM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.