Identifying Light Sensitivity as a Migraine Trigger

Identifying Light Sensitivity as a Migraine Trigger


Personal experience with migraine attacks can vary from person to person. In my case, I have been dealing with frequent migraine attacks for several years now. Through this journey, I have realized the importance of identifying triggers to manage my condition effectively. One trigger that stands out is light sensitivity. In this article, I will share my experience with light sensitivity as a migraine trigger and guide you on how to track and manage it effectively.

What is Light Sensitivity?

Light sensitivity, also known as photophobia, is a common symptom experienced by many migraine sufferers. It refers to an abnormal sensitivity or intolerance to various types of light, including natural light, fluorescent lights, and screens. When exposed to these light sources, individuals with migraine attacks may experience discomfort, pain, and worsening of their symptoms.

For example, bright sunlight can trigger migraine attacks in some individuals, leading to the need for sunglasses or seeking shade. Fluorescent lights, commonly found in offices and stores, can also be a common trigger. Additionally, screens from electronic devices such as smartphones and computers can cause or exacerbate migraine attacks for those with light sensitivity.

My Experience with Light Sensitivity as a Migraine Trigger

Throughout my journey with migraine attacks, I noticed a clear connection between light exposure and the onset of my migraine attacks. Whenever I encountered bright lights, whether it was sunlight, fluorescent lights, or screens, I would often experience migraine attacks shortly afterward. Recognizing this pattern allowed me to focus on tracking the intensity of light sensitivity and the specific light sources triggering my migraine attacks.

For instance, on a sunny day, I would wear sunglasses with polarized lenses to reduce the intensity of light reaching my eyes and minimize the chances of triggering a migraine. Similarly, when working in an office with bright fluorescent lighting, I would request to have the lights dimmed or switched to more migraine-friendly options, such as LED lights.

To effectively manage my migraine attacks, I started making adjustments in my environment to minimize light exposure. For example, I installed blackout curtains in my bedroom to create a dark and soothing environment. Additionally, I began exploring preventive measures such as wearing tinted glasses to reduce the impact of light sensitivity on my migraine attacks.

Should I Record Light Sensitivity as a Migraine Symptom?

It is important to record light sensitivity as a symptom of your migraine attacks. By doing so, you can develop a better understanding of your condition and track potential triggers. Documenting the severity and duration of light sensitivity during your migraine attacks is crucial for identifying patterns and common triggers.

For example, you may notice that your light sensitivity worsens during certain times of the day or when exposed to specific light sources, such as fluorescent lights or screens. By noting these details, you can take proactive measures to avoid situations that may trigger migraine attacks.

How to Track Light Sensitivity Effectively

Tracking light sensitivity can be made easier by utilizing a migraine diary or a tracking app designed for this purpose. When choosing a tracking app, look for features that allow you to record the severity of light sensitivity, the specific triggers encountered, and the duration of the symptom.

Let's say you are using a tracking app specifically designed for migraine attacks. The app may offer options to rate the intensity of light sensitivity on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being minimal sensitivity and 10 being severe sensitivity. You can also input specific details about the light source, such as sunlight, fluorescent lights, or screens, to identify common triggers.

Make tracking a habit by incorporating it into your daily routine. Set reminders or alarms to prompt you to record your symptoms. If you find it difficult to write, consider taking quick notes or using voice recording apps to make the process simpler.

Once you have collected enough data, organize and analyze it to identify correlations between light exposure and migraine attacks. Visualize the trends using charts and graphs to gain a better understanding of the impact of light sensitivity on your migraine attacks.

Sharing Tracked Data with Healthcare Providers

Open communication with your healthcare team is crucial for effective migraine management. During appointments, discuss your experience with light sensitivity, including the frequency and severity of light-triggered migraine attacks. Share specific details of your light exposures, such as the specific light sources and the duration of exposure.

Sharing the tracked data with your healthcare providers can enhance your treatment plans. They can make medication adjustments or recommend additional treatment options or preventive strategies based on the information you provide.

Overcoming Challenges in Tracking Light Sensitivity

Tracking light sensitivity may come with certain challenges. During migraine attacks, memory issues can make it difficult to document symptoms accurately. To overcome this, it is important to document symptoms as soon as possible, even if it means using technologies like voice recording or notes apps.

Another challenge may be the overwhelming amount of data to record. To simplify the process, focus on key details and the most prominent triggers. Consider using a simplified rating scale for light sensitivity intensity to make tracking more manageable.

For example, instead of recording the exact duration of each light exposure, you can use a scale to rate the intensity of each exposure. This can be as simple as rating each exposure on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being minimal light exposure and 5 being intense light exposure.


Identifying light sensitivity as a migraine trigger can significantly improve the management of migraine attacks. Tracking light sensitivity effectively through a migraine diary or a tracking app allows you to identify patterns, develop personalized strategies for light management, and better communicate with your healthcare providers. By doing so, you can gain a deeper understanding of your migraine attacks and work towards minimizing their impact on your daily life.

Jenny from Migraine Buddy

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