Good Sunglasses - Vital for Migraine and Eye Health

by Teri Robert Patient Advocate

by Teri Robert, MyMigraineConnection Lead Expert

Good sunglasses are vital for our head pain and eye health.

Whether it's the height of summer or the depths of winter, good sunglasses are a necessity. Not only are they vital to help us avoid headaches and Migraines, but they're vital to good eye health. Be sure to shop wisely for sunglasses, then remember to wear them!

Sunglasses head pain disorders:

  • Bright sunlight and reflected light can be headache and Migraine triggers.

  • Migraineurs are often somewhat photophobic (sensitive to light) even when we don't have a Migraine.

  • When we do have a headache or Migraine, sunglasses are often helpful even under normal, indoor lighting conditions.

Sunglasses and good eye health:

  • Good sunglasses block both UVA and UVB rays.

  • UV rays have a cumulative effect over the years, and can contribute to eye diseases later including cataracts and macular degeneration.

  • If you have any existing eye problem, bright sunlight and/or UV rays can make the problem worse.

  • Don't forget to get good sunglasses for your children. You're investing in the future of their good vision. When children are too young to get them to wear sunglasses, get them a hat with a brim that will block the sun from their eyes.

What you need to know about choosing sunglasses:

  • Invest in good optical grade lenses.

  • Be sure they're coated for UVA and UVB rays. If not, the dark tint will actually make your exposure to the UV rays worse because it allows the pupils to dilate and allow more UV rays to enter the eye.

  • Polarized lenses are better because they reduce scattered light, which is what causes glare.


Almost everyone with headaches or Migraine disease depends on sunglasses. The question is whether we're shopping wisely when we buy them. Ophthalmologists are seeing an increase in cataracts at younger ages, and more cases of macular degeneration than every before. Ophthalmologist Scott Strickler told me macular degeneration is a leading cause of blindness, and we're facing an epidemic of it in the United States. Since the damage from UV rays is cumulative it's essential to start with putting good sunglasses on children and teaching them the importance of them as soon as they're old enough to understand. For those of us already old enough to understand, don't sacrifice quality to save a few dollars. The quality of sunglasses does count.

Last updated May 31, 2007

Teri Robert
Meet Our Writer
Teri Robert

Teri Robert is a leading patient educator and advocate and the author of Living Well with Migraine Disease and Headaches. A co-founder of the Alliance for Headache Disorders Advocacy and the American Headache and Migraine Association, she received the National Headache Foundation's Patient Partners Award and a Distinguished Service Award from the American Headache Society.