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Maximilian, Germany

Because of my nystagmus – a vision condition – my eyes follow the movements of electric light. Thus, the strobing of LED flicker and the flickering and flashing of fluorescent lamps is clearly perceptible to me. Not only does this affect my well-being, it almost immediately causes nausea, dizziness, disorientation, and severe pain in the eyes and head, followed by fever in a flicker overdose.

As soon as the sunlight isn’t strong enough to ‘fill up’ the discontinuous light of LED and fluorescent lamps, I have to urgently find a safe environment in which I can manage without seeing – not only at night. It is not possible for me to lead a normal life.

When leaving my apartment, I always carry an emergency box with light bulbs with me. Before I go to an appointment, I inquire about the lighting conditions and lamp fittings. For the safe return trip, however, I rely mostly on a companion, especially in the dark season. Because with my vision, I also struggle to find my way on the streets as a pedestrian or cyclist, let alone to negotiate traffic unhindered. LED daytime running lights on cars are particularly difficult. But I even have problems reading the displays on trains and buses and thus in recognising which line it is or where my stop is on the way.

In addition, LED-powered, flickering street lamps and traffic lights are spreading everywhere, something that has not been taken into account in accessible construction projects so far. Digital advertising as well as smartphones make my way difficult even during the day. To save me from a visual overload, I have so far been left no other choice than to avoid public places, events, buildings and roads.

My goal now is to be able to set up my living environment in the long term so that I can feel safe and well. I would therefore be very happy if, in the future, lamps and displays were checked and labelled their visual suitability.

As an environmental consultant, I am aware of the negative effects of artificial light on animals, fungi, plants and ecological systems.

In my free time I like to spend time in nature and enjoy the natural light of the sun. As long as the sun is shining, everything is fine.

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