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Can watching TV harm epileptic children?

Q: My eight-year-old son is under medication for seizures. Is it harmful for him to watch TV because of radiofrequency signals it emits?

A:Seizures or convulsions can occur in susceptible individuals in response to watching TV or electronic screen games. This is known as photosensivity and the seizures are called photosensitive seizures. These patients generally have a genetic propensity for photosensitivity. The tendency for this type of seizure can be suspected if the fits occur while watching TV, playing video games, watching flashing lights, or patterns (like stripes or checks, etc). The stroboscopic flashes of light that are used during the EEG recording help us to detect photosensitive epilepsy. If your child does not have these symptoms, he can safely watch TV. The following precautions are helpful in any case:

  • Watch TV from a distance (e.g. 10 times the width of the TV screen)
  • Keep overhead lights on
  • Avoid too much surfing
  • A LCD/TFT screen is better
  • Avoid watching TV for hours at a stretch

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