What Are the Symptoms of Photosensitive Epilepsy?
There are many different types of seizures. People with photosensitive epilepsy typically have what's called a "generalized tonic-clonic seizure." This is also known as a convulsive seizure.
A tonic-clonic seizure should last no more than five minutes. Symptoms include:
- Loss of consciousness and patient falls to the ground
- Muscles contract and body stiffens
- Patient cries out
- Breathing pattern changes
- Patient bites tongue and inside of cheeks
- Limbs jerk or twitch as muscles tighten and relax
- Loss of bladder control
When the seizure ends, the muscles relax and the person slowly regains consciousness. After the seizure, the person may:
- Be confused
- Feel tired
- Have memory loss for a short time
- Have a headache
- Feel sore
Recovery time varies. Some people are able to return to normal activity soon after a seizure. Others may need to rest.
What to Do During a Seizure
It's not possible to stop a seizure once it has started. If you see a person having a seizure, take these steps:
- Roll the person onto his or her side to prevent choking.
- Cushion the head.
- Loosen any tight clothing around the neck.
- Keep the airway open. Grip the jaw gently and tilt the head back, if necessary.
- Remove any objects that he or she may hit during the seizure.
- Don't restrict the person's movement unless he or she is in danger.
- Don't put anything into the person's mouth, including medicine or liquid. Doing so could cause choking.
- Stay with the person until the seizure has passed or emergency personnel have arrived.
When to Call 911
Call 911 if:
- You know the person is pregnant or has diabetes.
- The seizure occurs in water.
- The seizure lasts longer than five minutes.
- The person doesn't regain consciousness after the seizure stops, another seizure starts before they regain consciousness, or they stop breathing.
- Injury occurs as a result of the seizure.
Try to keep track of how long the seizure lasts and what symptoms occur so you can tell a doctor or emergency personnel.
How Is Photosensitive Epilepsy Treated?
There is no cure for photosensitive epilepsy. However, anti-epileptic medicines may reduce the frequency of seizures.
People with photosensitive epilepsy can also reduce the likelihood of having a seizure by avoiding stimuli that could trigger a seizure. If you are inadvertently exposed to a trigger, cover one eye completely and turn your head away from the source of disturbance.