How to fix little-known health condition that gives sufferers nausea, headaches and eye pain

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Are you suffering pattern glare? The little-known eye condition that leaves sufferers with permanent nausea and headaches – and how it can be fixed

Pattern glare is where people feel discomfort when looking at particular patternsSymptoms of pattern glare include headaches, pain, light sensitivity and nausea It can be triggered by simple stripes right through to a complex shopping centreCondition can be treated using neurological tints that can be made into glasses

By Jackson Barron For Daily Mail Australia

Published: 05:22 GMT, 5 November 2020 | Updated: 08:21 GMT, 5 November 2020

An eye specialist has revealed the simple solution for a debilitating condition that affects about five per cent of Australians.

Pattern glare is a neurological disorder where people feel discomfort when looking at particular patterns or designs. 

Pattern glare symptoms include headaches, eye-pain, light sensitivity and nausea, which is caused when the patterns 'over-excite' the visual cortex of the brain - which is where humans process visual information. 

Pattern glare is where people feel discomfort when looking at particular patterns (stock image)

Optometry Australia president, Darrell Baker, said the condition is not commonly known in society other than by those who suffer from it.

'It would be a little bit like some people being very intolerant to certain noises, for instance fingernails scratching on a blackboard or ice scraping together,' Dr Baker told 3AW.

The condition can be triggered from something as simple as black and white stripes right through to the complicated visual stimulus of a shopping centre. 

Pattern glare can develop without existing health conditions, but can also be caused by concussion or if you develop dyslexia or epilepsy.

'We all have filters in our brain that help us filter out these really busy environments. If you’ve had a head injury or a neurological condition, sometimes that filter, in a sense, gets broken,' Dr Baker said. 

Reading text on a page or screen can highlight pattern glare, with common effects including letters moving, changing size and colour and flickering vision. 

Patients are tested for the condition using the Pattern Glare Test, which involves showing three patterns of different spatial frequency to the person to determine any symptoms.

Dr Baker said after testing patients are given a range of specialist neurological tints that can be incorporated into glasses to provide relief from pattern glare symptoms.

'Most of the time, there's a sort of rosy type colour that ends up being the most beneficial,' he said. 

WHAT ARE THE EYE HABITS WE SHOULD ALL PRACTICE?

1. Keep your general health good: The eyes are a reflection of your general health, so the more you move and eat well, the better your eye health will be.

2. Stay well-hydrated: If you're someone who spends a lot of time working at a desk, it's vital you drink as close to eight glasses of water per day as possible.

3. Wear sunglasses or a hat: Whenever you go out in the sun, wear sunglasses or a hat to ensure you're protecting your eyes at all points.

4. Check out a change in vision: If you have a change in vision, it's vital you check it out as soon as it happens.


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