Best Migraine Glasses For Dizziness and Vertigo
By VeDA, with contributions from Dr. Randy Schulman, ODLight Sensitivity
Migraines can be quite debilitating and those experiencing migraines often have light sensitivity, also called photophobia. There may be multiple causes for the migraines, biochemistry, family history, dehydration, and brain sensitivity and sensory processing difficulties, to name a few. During a migraine, the brain becomes more sensitive to all sensory stimuli including light, sound, and touch resulting in pain and heightened perceptions of brightness, noise and pressure.
Studies have shown that certain wavelengths of light, especially blue light, can trigger migraines in susceptible people. Blue light is also known to suppress the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep, disrupting the sleep-wake cycle and increasing the likelihood of developing a migraine.
It has also been suggested that the visual pathway itself may play a role in migraine-related photophobia. During a migraine, the activity in the visual cortex of the brain can become distorted, leading to increased sensitivity to light.
Our eyes process light via two photoreceptors, or light receptors, located at the back of the retina called rods and cones.
A groundbreaking 2010 study, identified additional photoreceptors called intrinsically-photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGC’s) at the back of the retina. These ipRGCs play a critical role in circadian or sleep and waking or alertness cyles, the pupillary light reflex or how much light the pupil lets in, and mood. The ipRGC’s can release melanopsin, a receptor found in the retina, when activated by wavelengths of light in the 400nm to 500nm range. One of the functions of melanopsin is to aid your vision with color correction in high-brightness situations.
If you have migraine, you are likely to experience an increase in pain in bright-light situations. The same study found that migraines that are made worse by light are likely to involve both ipRGCs and melanopsin.
That study explored the effect of wearing glasses that blocked wavelengths of light at 480nm against lenses blocking at 620nm. The researchers determined that wavelengths at 481nm and 587nm are the peak bands affecting melanopsin.
They further discovered that white, blue, amber, and red light increased the subjects’ headache pain intensity, while green light pain intensity. Therefore, filtering out specific wavelengths of light while allowing in green light may prove beneficial in alleviating the pain associated with migraines.
Blue Blocking Lenses
LED lights found in some overhead lighting and digital devices emit blue light from about 430 nm to 500 nm with an intense spike at about 455 nm.
Blue blocking lenses are designed to filter out the blue light emitted by electronic devices, such as computer screens, smartphones, and tablets, as well as LED and fluorescent lighting. The lenses work by using special filters that selectively block out the shorter, high-energy blue wavelengths of light, while still allowing other visible wavelengths through.
Over-the-counter (OTC) blue-blocking lenses are designed to filter out blue light by using special coatings or tints.
FL-41 lenses are specialized lenses designed to filter out specific wavelengths of light in the 480 to 520 nm range, including blue light and certain shades of green and red that are known to trigger or worsen symptoms in people with light-sensitive conditions. FL-41 lenses use a specific rose colored tint that is different from standard blue-blocking lenses.
Top Brands of Custom Light Sensitivity Glasses
Avulux lenses have a tint that is customized to block out light in the range of 480-550 nm. Avulux’s lens technology filters up to 97% of blue, amber, and red light while allowing in over 70% of green light.
Avulux glasses are available in both prescription and non-prescription options, and are designed to be color neutral (i.e. will not distort colors).
Avulux lenses helped lower my anxiety. Another great selling point is that they have independent studies specifically on their lens technology. – Alicia Wolf, The Dizzy Cook
Statement from manufacturer: Up to 90% of people with migraine experience light sensitivity and up to 60% of migraine attacks are triggered by light.
In the past decade, several studies have identified the pathways through which light negatively impacts people with migraine. A study conducted at Harvard in 2016 identified that certain wavelengths of light can increase migraine headache intensity while a narrow band of green light can be soothing (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4939697/).
Avulux Migraine & Light Sensitivity lenses are the only clinically proven lenses for people living with migraine and light sensitivity. Avulux lenses work by selectively filtering up to 97% of harmful blue, amber, and red light waves while allowing in a narrow band of soothing green light. 90% of Avulux wearers find that Avulux helps them through their days by effectively filtering light as part of a healthy lifestyle.
Migraine Shield lenses filter certain wavelengths of blue-light around 455 nm,where LED light “spikes”, while letting in beneficial green light without distorting color, compared to the rose-tinted FL-41 lenses. Migraine Shields has two types of lenses: the everyday lens (amber tint) and the episodic lens (greenish tint).
Pros: They have many different styles to choose from and some are pretty fashionable. And you can trial them & return for full money back within 45 days. They block the LED blue light when working at a computer all day. Con is they don’t do prescription lenses.
I’ve tried multiple but my favorite brand is Migraine Shields. They do not distort the color too much for me. There are different levels of “tint”. With other glasses I felt like I couldn’t see straight or they were just too dark for me.
TheraSpecs are blue light glasses that target blue light at and around 480nm. The tint in indoor TheraSpecs makes the lenses a dusty rose color. The polarization and dark tinting makes outdoor TheraSpecs lenses appear more like a standard brown sunglasses lens, but with a pinkish hue that adds additional light filtering. TheraSpecs lenses are available with a prescription.
They protect my eyes and brain and ease my brain’s reactions to excessive stimuli. Don’t pick out paint colors or decorate wearing these.
Statement from the manufacturer: TheraSpecs therapeutic glasses are an affordable, reliable, and proven solution for light sensitivity and migraine. Their lenses are tinted with FL-41, the leading tint recommended by headache specialists and neurologists based on decades of clinical research showing its efficacy in relieving light-sensitive conditions. By targeting the wavelengths of light that are most likely to trigger attacks and other symptoms like vertigo, studies have shown that TheraSpecs can reduce migraine attacks by as much as 74% and lessen photophobia. TheraSpecs can be ordered with indoor or polarized outdoor lenses and are also available with or without prescription. You can order online at www.theraspecs.com.
Migraines can be painful and disruptive to work and lifestyle. It is important to consult with a doctor about the possible causes. Blue light blocking lenses and specific tints in glasses can alleviate some of the light sensitivity associated with migraines. Overall, each brand on the market has its own unique features and benefits, so the best option for an individual with light sensitivity may depend on their specific needs and preferences. Ideally, it is best to try out different brands and styles to find the best fit and greatest relief for your symptoms.
Disclaimer: It’s important to consult with a doctor or eye care professional to determine which type of lens is best suited for your needs.
See also The Dizzy Cook’s article, “Which Migraine Glasses Are The Best?”