Can Applet flickering elicit epileptic attacks?

Pat Caruthers patcar at
Thu Mar 13 20:03:06 EST 1997

In article <Pine.GSO.3.95.970313182528.24163C-100000 at>, Anthonie Muller <awjm at> writes:
|> Hi everyone,
|> I know that fluctuating light can induce epileptic attacks
|> (by the way, is any mechanism known? I am a biophysicist, and know a
|> little bit about epilepsy).
|> Now Applets flicker a lot. 
|> I know that the flicker can be diminished with double buffering,
|> but nevertheless some flickering remains.
|> Can I choose a certain sleep time value in my Applet?
|> Should I put a disclaimer for epileptics on my website?
|> Does anyone know about the legal aspects of this all? Can I get sued?
|> Or is there no problem at all?

a new set of questions.
a whole new set of potential legal pit falls....gee, thanks.

This is photosensitive epilepsy.
it is not a common form but does seem to be becoming more common
these days.  Possibly it's just being more noticed because of all the
flashing lights around us.

photosensitives usually are responding to blinking at a frequency < 30Hz
but there are some who have trouble with the refresh rate of normal monitors
(which is more like 75Hz).  In general though, the faster the rate the
less likely it is to trigger a seizure.

It seems that you are more likely to slow down (and hense potentially 
aggravate) the flicker by sleeps.

I have never heard of any suits taking place, but i have heard of some 
game manufacturer's putting in such a warning.  Warnings generally imply
that some lawyer at least Thought there was a rist of a suit...

your call about CYA.


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