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Updated 21 June 2018

Watching 'Incredibles 2' comes with seizure warning in SA

Movie-goers with photosensitive epilepsy are advised to take precaution.

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The long-anticipated release of Incredibles 2 is clearly giving fans what they want with the movie already making box office history.

But when the movie was official released on 15 June 2018, many US cinemas posted warnings in front of the theatre that a “sequence of flashing lights” may affect people who are susceptible to “photosensitive epilepsy or other photosensitivities”.

Now, South African cinemas are following suit. Jared Stokes, Disney's Africa spokesperson, has confirmed to Health24 that the company, who distributes the movie in SA, will also take precautions. "We have requested local exhibitors to display an advisory notice in cinemas," said Stoke. 

But what exactly is the potential danger? The New York Times reported on 27-year-old Marcos Gardiana who experienced a "blackout seizure, a full-on shaking seizure" while watching the movie. 

Gardiana suffers from epilepsy and had apparently suffered seizures triggered by flashing lights, during the movie. He was subsequently hospitalised and is currently recovering. 

Photosensitive epilepsy 

According to Health24 you have photosensitive epilepsy if your seizures are triggered by exposure to flashing or flickering light. Only 3-5% of epilepsy sufferers are believed to be photosensitive. 

The Epilepsy Foundation warns that the following situations might trigger a response:

  • Flickering or rolling images on TV screens
  • Certain video games or TV broadcasts containing rapid flashes or alternating patterns of different colours
  • Intense strobe lights
  • Natural light, such as sunlight, "especially when shimmering off water, flickering through trees or through the slats of Venetian blinds"
  • Certain visual patterns, especially stripes of contrasting colours

Treatment

If you have photosensitive epilepsy, it is best to avoid exposure to certain types of flashing lights, and to avoid places or activities where flashing lights are likely to be encountered. The following measures may also be helpful:

  • Cover one eye and turn away from the direct light source when in the presence of flashing lights.
  • Ask your doctor about photochromic (light responsive) glasses. These glasses, worn with one lens darkened, render 95% of photosensitive people safe from light-induced seizures.
  • Wearing good polarised sunglasses outside can help reduce flickering reflections.

Image credit: Wikipedia

 
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