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  • Friday, December 3, 2010
    Why does light hurt? Links between vision and migraine

    One of the defining symptoms of migraine headache is photophobia or aversion to light. During migraine episodes, light seems overly bright and even painful. However heightened sensitivity both to light intensity and to specific spatio-temporal patterning of light is characteristic of individuals with migraine, even during the periods between episodes. In this talk, I will describe some recent work from my lab on visual hypersensitivity, specifically to flicker or high frequency temporal modulation of light. I will discuss recent thinking about possible cortical hyper-excitability mechanisms that could underlie this heightened visual sensitivity, and will conclude by considering the implications of recent findings from other labs suggesting a critical role for the non-imagine-forming subcortical parts of the visual system that we vision scientists tend to overlook.

    Fran Wikinson
    York University