How To Manage Light Sensitivity Symptoms With Migraine Glasses


Migraine And Light Sensitivity

The Relationship Between Migraine and Light Sensitivity

If you’re often avoiding sunlight, bright places, and prolonged contact with smart devices because it triggers migraine, you may have light sensitivity. Approximately 85% to 90% of migraine patients experience light sensitivity before and during an attack.

Interestingly, this is so common that it becomes one of the criteria used to diagnose chronic migraine.

Exposure to light during the attack can make other symptoms worse too. This leads to more pain and even extends the recovery time. This explains why many choose to wear sunglasses indoors or find temporary solace in a dark space. In addition, migraine symptoms can be misleading and vary from one episode to the next; you may not experience light sensitivity as part of every attack, but that does not mean you are not light sensitive.  

Fortunately, you may have a slight respite during the postdrome or post-attack phase of migraine, although light sensitivity remains a regular symptom for approximately 36% of individuals. Hence, it shows that people with migraine-related light sensitivity are highly sensitive to external stimuli just about all the time. In this article, we explain how to manage light sensitivity symptoms with migraine glasses.

Light Sensitivity Symptoms

  • Experiencing discomfort adjusting to different light levels
  • Suffer from the pain associated with light
  • Frequent difficulty adjusting to high levels of brightness
  • Normal light levels still cause pain or discomfort

For most people with light sensitivity, the brighter the light, the greater the discomfort. Additionally, the wavelength (color) of light can also affect the individual. If someone is used to low, warmer types of light, colder tones or outside light may be perceived as even brighter which can impact symptoms.

How Migraine Glasses Can Help With Light Sensitivity?

If you think wearing sunglasses can help mitigate light sensitivity, think again.

Wearing sunglasses indoors when experiencing light sensitivity can cause more harm than good in the long term. According to Dr. Deborah Friedman, professor of neurology and ophthalmology, when sunglasses or dark-tinted lenses are worn indoors, the retina adapts to being in the darkness and makes it difficult to emerge into the light.

Hence, instead of using sunglasses indoors, wearing migraine glasses is much better. Migraine glasses also known as FL-41 glasses can reduce headache frequency, duration, and severity if you wear them regularly indoors and outdoors.

You may be wondering what is so special about the FL-41 glasses. The newer versions of these glasses can block out blue light and also other wavelengths such as amber light, that can trigger light sensitivity.

If you’re looking for a more affordable option, Dr. Bain adds that dark polarized sunglasses are a good option, too. They can “successfully block out bright lights and eliminate glare, which can decrease attacks in migraine patients.”

To make sure the glasses you choose are polarized, start by checking the label. You’ll want them to be rated UV400 or greater. But to be sure, you can also try the computer screen test. Or, you can put them on and look at any digital screen. If they’re polarized, you should see a rainbow over the screen.

Why Light Sensitivity Must Be Addressed

People who are diagnosed with migraine are more likely to deal with emotional hardships. However, the presence of light sensitivity seems to accentuate issues of depression, anxiety, irritability, and other psychological symptoms. One of the main reasons has to do with the avoidance behaviors in which people with migraine frequently engage.

For example, foregoing social or professional activities for fear that light may trigger an attack; or disengage from social media because they are sensitive to screen light. Regardless, missing out on these important life events can intensify feelings of isolation and lead to further negative outcomes.

This is why finding ways to manage light sensitivity is so important. Hence, migraine glasses are a great preventive treatment option for people with migraine-related light sensitivity. By blocking super bright light and filtering out the type of light you tend to be more sensitive to, you may be able to better manage the migraine attack (or at least experience a less painful one).

These can all help turn down the relative “intensity” of light sensitivity and ultimately allow people to reclaim their freedom from the darkness—and the light.

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Jenny from Migraine Buddy

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