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Visual Stress$
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Arnold J. Wilkins

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780198521747

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198521747.001.0001

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Illusions and headaches

Illusions and headaches

(p.38) 3 Illusions and headaches
Visual Stress

Arnold J. Wilkins

Oxford University Press

Certain geometric patterns can be uncomfortable to look at and may sometimes provoke anomalous visual effects: illusions of colour, shape, and motion. The stimuli responsible are very similar to those that provoke seizures in patients with photosensitive epilepsy. Susceptibility to discomfort and anomalous visual effects varies considerably from one person to another and is greatest in those who suffer frequent severe headaches, particularly migraine. Susceptibility is aggravated prior to headache onset or after deprivation of sleep. In migraine with aura, the illusions predominate in the visual field affected by the aura. The underlying pathophysiology is attributed to a hyperexcitability of the visual cortex.

Keywords:   anomalous perceptual effects, perceptual distortion, flicker, discomfort, migraine

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