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Seizure. 1997 Dec;6(6):457-9.

A survey of epilepsy-patient perceptions of video-game material/electronic screens and other factors as seizure precipitants.

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Department of Clinical Neurology, Institute of Neurology, London, UK.


The risk of seizures while playing video games in photosensitive (PS) individuals with epilepsy is well established. However, media reporting, game packaging and anecdotal advice of medical practitioners may have implicated a broader proportion of the epilepsy population, i.e. not just those with PS, to be at risk. By using a hospital outpatient survey this paper investigates the perceived risk of using video games and electronic screens among those individuals with epilepsy. More than a quarter of those surveyed indicated that they thought that a substantially greater proportion of people with epilepsy were at risk from this stimulus than the estimated real risk suggests. One in 13 perceived that every individual with epilepsy is at risk of a seizure as a result of playing video games. Our results also indicate that the proportion of individuals with epilepsy surveyed who saw themselves to be at risk from video games, is two to three times the estimated real risk. For many individuals seizures during video-game play will represent a chance occurrence without a causal link. It is essential that accurate information is passed on to every individual with epilepsy regarding their personal susceptibility to photic-induced seizures so that those who are not at increased risk may participate in relevant activities without undue concern.

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