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Seizure. 2000 Sep;9(6):436-41.

Reflex occipital lobe epilepsy.

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Neurology Clinic, Sişli Etfal Education Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey.


Photosensitivity is a typical feature of photosensitive epilepsy which is usually considered a form of idiopathic generalized epilepsy. Partial seizures featuring visual symptoms are rarely reported in photosensitive epilepsy. In this study, we describe 13 neurologically normal patients in whom daytime seizures were always induced by television and began with elementary visual hallucinations, followed frequently by vomiting, headache and then secondary generalization. Three patients additionally reported nocturnal seizures, which have not been described in previous studies. Two of these latter patients had generalized tonic-clonic seizures, the other always awoke from sleep and could describe typical visual hallucinations at the beginning of the seizure. EEG features included normal background activity and occipital spikes or spike-waves in all but two patients. Eight patients also showed generalized epileptiform activity during intermittent photic stimulation. Seizure frequency was low in all. Apart from two patients, who refused treatment, all patients received antiepileptic drugs. Only one patient continued to have rare seizures after treatment; in the others seizure control was achieved with monotherapy. We conclude that reflex occipital lobe epilepsy is an idiopathic form of the benign partial epilepsies, which may overlap with one another.

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