Benign occipital epilepsy (BOE) is a type of child epilepsy that causes seizures from the occipital lobe, the region of the brain that among other things controls part of your vision.
There are two forms of BOE: Panayiotopoulos and Gastaut. Panayiotopoulos BOE often begins between 15 months and 17 years of age and involves infrequent seizures that occur at night. Seizures usually last less than 10 minutes and involve vomiting and staring off to one side. Gastaut BOE typically begins between the ages of 3 and 16 years, with a most starting between the age of 7 to 9 years old. Gastaut BOE involves similar seizures, with the addition of possible visual hallucinations and headaches with the seizures.
BOE is hereditary, meaning that it is passed down within families. The cause of BOE is unknown, although scientiest believe a genetic cause is possible due to its frequency in siblings and twins.
BOE is diagnosed after discussing symptoms and seizure patterns with a physician. Scans to visualize the brain or check brain activity, such as an MRI or EEG, may be done to confirm a BOE diagnosis. Most children with BOE outgrow it within 2 to 4 years, or have mild symptoms in which treatment is unnecessary. However, for those who do require treatment, anti-epileptic drugs may be prescribed to help reduce the frequency of seizures.
If you or a family member have been diagnosed with BOE, speak with your doctor to learn more information. Support groups may also be available for further resources.
Description Last Updated: Aug 22, 2018