Occipital Lobe Epilepsy
UW Health's comprehensive epilepsy program at UW Hospital and Clinics in Madison, Wisconsin, offers state-of-the-art care for patients with epilepsy or those suspected of having seizures.
About Occipital Lobe Epilepsy
- Occipital lobe seizures originate in the back of the brain and account for 5 to 10 percent of all epileptic seizures.
- The occipital lobe controls a patient's visual system.
- There are two types of occipital lobe seizures: Idiopathic, which are of unknown origin, and symptomatic, which are associated with known lesions.
- Occipital lobe seizures begin early in childhood, at ages 5 to 7.
- In diagnosing occipital lobe epilepsy, EEG readings may reveal abnormal responses to photic stimulation (intermittently flashing lights), potentially indicating an occipital lobe epilepsy diagnosis
Occipital Lobe Epilepsy Seizures
- Occipital lobe seizures are often mistaken for migraines.
- Occipital lobe seizures begin with visual hallucinations including blinking lights and rapid blinking.
- Other symptoms may include visual hallucinations and illusions, decreased vision (sometimes including blindness), image repetition (pallinopsia), eye pain and involuntary eye movements (including nystagmus or jerking of the eye)
- Children may experience nausea and vomiting during occipital lobe seizures in addition to the aforementioned symptoms.
Treating Occipital Lobe Seizures
- Medication used for partial epilepy is often effective.
- In cases that do not respond to medication, surgery may be considered.
- Children may outgrow occipital lobe epilepsy.