One of the problems that many Migraineurs have in common is dealing with light, even between Migraines. Many of us find that we’re photosensitive between Migraines, and during Migraines, that increased sensitivity to light is one of our most severe symptoms.
Research has also shown that during a Migraine, light can increase our Migraine pain via a pathway in the brain that originates in the eye and goes to areas in the brain where neurons are located that activate during a Migraine attack. Light can increase the electrical activity in neurons, making the pain of the Migraine worse.
Some Migraineurs have found that wearing sunglasses have helped them with their light sensitivity issues; others have found little help from them. Research into the different wave lengths of light that are most frequently problematic have led to the development of special glasses for Migraineurs that have precision tinted lenses in a tint called FL-41, which filters out the most common problematic wave lengths. FL-41 is a bit difficult to describe. It’s not quite brown, but not quite pink either.
One company making glasses with the FL-41 tint is TheraSpecs. Their lenses are made of optical-quality CR-39 plastic, the plastic used for most prescription lenses and coated with a scratch resistant coating. The frames are made of a durable nylon with earpieces made of a rubber material. Their wrap-around design offers great coverage from the sides as well as the front. TheraSpecs come in two shades of the FL-41 lens, one for indoors and a darker one for outdoors.
I’ve had a pair of TheraSpecs for several months now, and can tell you that they make me far more comfortable. I do tend to be very sensitive to light all the time, not just during a Migraine, and TheraSpecs are an enormous help with this in several ways…
- under “regular” incandescent indoor lighting,
- under fluorescent lighting, and
- watching television. I noticed a big help here during action scenes where there tend to be a lot of bright lights.
The only problems I have with TheraSpecs come from the frames. During a Migraine, I have a lot of allodynia (pain from a stimulus that normally isn’t painful). During a Migraine, the frames touching my face are painful. Another issue is that I need prescription glasses to use the computer or drive, and TheraSpecs aren’t available in prescription glasses. Given how new TheraSpecs are, I think these are small issues. The company web site notes that they’re working on a solution for those who need prescription glasses.
Overall, I find TheraSpecs to be a good product, one that I have used quite well. I’ve only used the indoor tint, and will say that I would definitely want to get the outdoor tint if I were going to wear them outside. The company offers a special price for customers who buy both the indoor and outdoor tint, and they offer a 90-day refund if the glasses don’t help you.
_Disclaimer _: The TheraSpecs Company provided me with a pair of TheraSpecs for review. I have no other financial ties to the company.
Noseda, Rodrigo; Kainz, Vanessa; Jakubowski, Moshe; Gooley, Joshua J.; Saper, Clifford B.; Digre, Kathleen; Burstein, Rami. “A neural mechanism for exacerbation of headaches by light.” Nature Neuroscience. Advance Online Publication; January 10, 2010.
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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. Teri can be found on her website, and blog, Facebook, Twitter, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.