[visionlist] consent form question - stroboscopic light

Apl.Prof.Dr. Sven Heinrich sven.heinrich at uniklinik-freiburg.de
Mon Dec 11 05:43:23 -04 2023

Dear Katherine,

It is generally assumed that stimulating monocularly (if this would work for your research question) substantially reduces the risk of triggering a seizure. Depending on the aim of your study, you could also try to choose flicker frequencies that are relatively low risk. Some risk remains, of course, but in combination with the exclusion of high-risk individuals and preparedness of the experimenter for the case of a seizure, the risk might be outweighed by the benefits of the study and considered acceptable by the IRB.

A while ago we had a patient (a single case among many thousand patients) who experienced a flicker-induced seizure (probably not a full-fledged epileptic one) during an ERG recording without any anamnestic hint of increased risk, as documented here: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10633-020-09813-9 

Best regards,

Prof. Dr.rer.nat. Sven Heinrich

Klinik für Augenheilkunde, Sektion Funktionelle Sehforschung
Killianstr. 5, 79106 Freiburg, Germany

> Am 08.12.2023 um 19:55 schrieb Dr. Katherine Moore <moorek at arcadia.edu>:
> Hi all, 
> My student is performing a study that is using bright, flashing lights (stroboscopic). We would like to warn people in the consent form about the risks associated with photosensitive epilepsy. In fact, we would like to exclude people who have epilepsy and also warn others. Does anyone have language for this they want to share? Or other tips for how to navigate this situation ethically and safely (and in a way that the IRB approves?) Thank you!
> Katherine S Moore (she/her/hers)
> Associate Professor of Psychology
> Arcadia University
> 450 S. Easton Rd
> Glenside, PA 19038
> Office: Boyer Hall room 128
> Phone: (215) 517-2429
> https://sites.google.com/a/arcadia.edu/amclab/
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