How Glasses for Migraines Might Help End the Ache
January 25, 2023 • 7:29 AM
Vision problems can be a real pain in the head. In fact, vision and migraines are so closely linked that some of the first signs of a migraine attack are light sensitivity and vision loss. Ocular migraines are even named for their effect on your eyes. And if migraines can affect your vision, it begs the question: Can your vision affect your migraines?
While vision is just one piece of the migraine puzzle, it can have an effect on your migraines. Many chronic migraine sufferers experience partial pain relief when they use glasses for migraines. But, migraine glasses can take many forms, and the glasses that work for one migraine sufferer might not work for another.
We’ll explain what to do if you think eyeglasses could help your migraine headaches, and we’ll take a look at the different types of glasses for migraines and how each of them works.
The First Step in Treating Your Migraine Headaches
If you haven’t officially been diagnosed with migraine headaches, there are a few steps you need to take before you buy a pair of migraine glasses. First, make two doctor appointments — one with your primary healthcare provider and one with your eye doctor.
Migraines are a diagnosis of last resort, which means that before your doctor can diagnose you with migraines, they’ll need to rule out other possible causes of your headaches.
There are some scary conditions out there that can lead to headaches, including infections and tumors. And these conditions could have even worse consequences if they’re left untreated. So, don’t skip the appointment with your primary care doctor — especially if you suddenly develop headaches when you haven’t had them before, or if your headaches suddenly get worse, more frequent, or don’t respond to over-the-counter medication.
If your primary care doctor doesn’t find an obvious reason for your headaches, they may recommend that you see a third doctor — a neurologist. A neurologist is the doctor most likely to provide you with an official diagnosis of migraines. But an eye doctor can help rule out underlying conditions. Your eye appointment may also help you find some relief from your pain since vision health and headaches are closely linked.
Vision Problems That Can Cause Migraine Headaches
The main vision problems that cause headaches are eye strain — which often comes from having the wrong prescription lenses — and light sensitivity or photophobia.
If you have the wrong prescription lenses, or if you need prescription glasses but don’t have them, it can lead to eye strain. Your eyes have to constantly struggle to see clearly, which causes ocular stress and fatigue.
Yep, your eyes get stressed too! But the right prescription can help them relax. So, if you haven’t had your eyes checked in a while, head to the eye doctor.
This is especially important if you have a visually demanding job that requires you to do a lot of close-up work, like working in front of a computer screen. These jobs put more strain on your eyes to begin with, so even slight adjustments to your prescription can make a big difference.
On the other hand, if you just got a new prescription and you’re suddenly experiencing headaches, you may just need time to adjust. Headaches are a common side effect when you’re getting used to new glasses.
Your eyes should adjust to your new prescription in one to two weeks, though it may take up to three weeks to get used to progressive lenses. If your headaches don’t improve by then, talk to your eye doctor.
Photophobia doesn’t mean that you’re afraid of photos — it means that you have a light sensitivity. (It’s like your eyes are afraid of bright lights.) Photophobia is both a cause of migraines and a migraine symptom.
According to the American Headache Society, light sensitivity affects 85-90% of people who get migraines. You may become more sensitive to light right before a migraine comes on or you may notice that light makes your symptoms worse when you’re having a migraine attack.
People with photophobia are typically sensitive to blue light, a wavelength of light that’s present in fluorescent light, sunlight, and the light from digital screens.
Blue light is the shortest wavelength and highest energy light that people can see. This type of light can increase sensitivity levels in the vision center of your brain. In fact, all colors of light (including red and yellow) can do this, except for green light, which studies show may actually provide some migraine relief.
Reducing your exposure to blue light can also provide some relief and certain types of glasses can help you do that.
Types of Glasses for Migraines
Glasses for migraines are not a one-size-fits-all solution. So, you may need to experiment to find the pair that’s right for you. There are a variety of options that can help you reduce eye strain and decrease light sensitivity. Here’s what you need to know about each.
While the other options on this list are available with or without prescription lenses, checking your prescription should be the first step for anyone experiencing migraines. Make sure you go to the eye doctor and get yourself an updated pair of prescription glasses if you need them.
Blue-Light Blocking Glasses
Sometimes called computer glasses, blue-light blocking glasses have tinted lenses that serve as a blue-light blocker. These lenses filter out the high-frequency blue wavelength, giving you light protection that can help reduce eye strain. The tint is often yellow, which also helps your eyes perceive the light as more green than blue.
Sunglasses are important for your overall eye health because they protect your eyes from the damaging effects of UVA and UVB radiation when you’re outside. If you suffer from light sensitivity, you should make sure to buy polarized sunglasses because these lenses reduce scattered light and are anti-glare.
But, be careful not to wear your polarized lenses inside (stick with blue-light blocking for indoor light sensitivity). Overtime, wearing sunglasses in low light can actually increase photophobia because your eyes become less and less accustomed to bright light.
If you’d like more light protection in every environment, opt for transition lenses. Transition lenses automatically go from clear to tinted, depending on the amount of light, so you’ll always have the protection you need.
Visualize Migraine Relief
When you have a migraine, it’s hard to feel like yourself. But glasses for migraines can help you find relief from eye strain and light sensitivity. And the very best glasses for migraines can also help you be you.
At Pair Eyewear, we offer prescription and non-prescription blue-light blocking glasses, polarized sunglasses, and transition lenses. And with our unique changeable Top Frames, your glasses will always match your mood and your personality. Migraines can’t hide your unstoppable spirit.
We even offer polarized Sun Tops, so if you need prescription lenses and light protection, you can get both without paying for two separate pairs of glasses. Now that’s a relief! Start shopping for your next pair of glasses today.