I mean, really dizzy, where you couldn’t do much if you could get up at all.
This is not a “too much spinning on the playground equipment” dizziness. No, this dizziness comes on seemingly out of the blue. It can last several minutes or drag on for up to three days and you have this feeling of spinning or moving.
You might be unsteady on your feet, like the floor is rocking underneath you.
On top of all that, you may have a headache, see flashing or shimmering lights in your field of vision, and experience a sensitivity to sound or light or both.
If you have experienced these issues, talked to your doctor about it, and he or she could find nothing amiss, it probably left you feeling frustrated and perhaps a little hopeless. After all, if they can’t find out what’s wrong, how can you be treated for it?
However, there is a simple question that could shed a great deal of light on your malady. One question that could potentially make all the pieces come together.
Have you ever had migraines?
If you answer yes, it could be that you are suffering from vestibular migraine – even if your dizzy episodes do not include headache.
We bring you the latest research on vestibular migraine, specifically, we’ll summarize an article for you that is hot off the presses from the Journal of Neuroophthalmology, Vestibular Migraine: How to Sort it Out and What to Do About it. It’s an extensive review of academic literature on this rather uncommon, misunderstood type of migraine. Read on to learn more.
The Vestibular System: An Overview
The vestibular system is responsible for spatial orientation (to coordinate balance and movement), controlling eye movements during movement of the head, and overall sense of balance. It is located in the vestibulum which resides within the inner ear. However, it is directly networked to several different areas of the brain: the somatic sensory cortices, the cerebellum, and the brainstem.
If there is a malfunction at any point in the network, it can greatly affect balance and cause dizziness. However, vestibular problems can also include symptoms such as hypersensitivity to sounds or lights (photosensitivity). Visual auras like flashing or shimmering lights may also be present, particularly in vestibular migraine.
This short video provides a concise overview of the vestibular system.
2-Minute Neuroscience: Vestibular System - YouTube
There are a number of factors that can contribute to vestibular disorders. Inner ear problems as well as neurological issues can all cause problems that affect your balance and often make you feel dizzy.
What is Vestibular Migraine?
A vestibular migraine is a problem with the nervous system. The message from the inner ear to the brain gets scrambled and neural pathways misfire or short circuit. This leads to repeated episodes of vertigo (dizziness) in migraineurs or people who have a history of migraine.
The good news is, a headache may not always accompany these unusual migraines.
The bad news is, they make you so dizzy you still can’t function.
The vestibular migraine is known by many names:
Symptoms can last a few minutes or a few days.
Vestibular Migraine Symptoms
The most obvious symptom of vestibular migraine is, of course, dizziness. It isn’t necessarily continuous but tends to come and go. You may feel dizzy for five minutes, several hours, or up to three days. The truth is, around 40% of people who suffer from migraine also experience some type of vestibular problem as some point during the attack.
That is the symptom that most people look for first, but that isn’t the only symptom – and it isn’t enough for your doctor to make a diagnosis either.
Other vestibular migraine symptoms include:
Problems with balance
Disoriented or confused
Hypersensitive to sound
Photophobia or light sensitivity
Severe sensitivity to motion – dizziness is increased when you move your body, eyes, or head (often increases nausea as well)
Feeling of being unsteady, like you are in a boat that is rocking on rough waves
While it is possible to experience dizziness and problems with your balance without any type of headache or migraine, it is also possible to experience vertigo symptoms at any point of your migraine – before an attack, during it, or after.
A study published in Neurology Advisor found that more than 70% of their test subjects had anxiety while more than 40% had depression. Additionally, 26% had insomnia. It is difficult to tell if these are comorbidities that existed prior to the migraine attacks, if the attacks brought them to the surface, or if the attacks caused them.
Some people have migraines for years, only to have the vertigo symptoms begin later in life. If you have a history of migraine and you have vertigo, even if they don’t occur together, it is likely that you have vestibular migraine. Also, while this type of migraine is more prevalent in older adults, children can get them too.
Diagnostic Challenges of Vestibular Migraine
Vestibular migraine is not a straightforward diagnosis. Often the patient does not experience a headache so symptoms may not immediately point to a type of migraine. There are other migrainosus features that do accompany it such as phonophobia, photophobia, and visual aura. These are considered to be part of the diagnostic criteria.
A minimum of five episodes that include vestibular symptoms, must
Be moderate to severe in intensity
Last between five minutes and 72 hours
History of current or previous migraine attacks (with or without aura)
At least 50% of vestibular episodes must include at least one of these migraine features:
Headache with a minimum of two migraine characteristics:
Located on one side
Pain is moderate or severe in intensity
Routine physical activity causes pain to increase
Phonophobia or photophobia
Other vestibular disorders have been ruled out
Your doctor may perform one or more vestibular function tests to get a better understanding of your vertigo. These tests are very simple, and several can even be performed on comatose patients. This allows them to rule out other issues that may be causing your symptoms.
Meniere Disease presents doctors with the greatest diagnostic challenge when determining whether a patient’s vertigo is due to vestibular migraine or Meniere disease. This is because not only do the two conditions share similar markers, migraine is also common among people with Meniere disease. About a third of people diagnosed with Meniere disease also have migraine. What’s more, headaches and migraine symptoms often accompany Meniere disease attacks.
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo is another common vestibular disorder that can easily be confused with vestibular migraine. It is the most common cause of dizziness and vertigo among adults. It also has very close ties to migraine. An attack can trigger a migraine and patients with the disorder often have migraine as well.
Vertebrobasilar Ischemia is another condition that has some similarities to vestibular migraine. The episodic vertigo comes on abruptly and lasts within the diagnostic criteria for vestibular migraine. There are tests that are stroke specific that your doctor may perform to rule it out.
A history of migraine is one of the most common conditions associated with vestibular migraine.
The two conditions even share many of the same triggers. One study identified stress as a trigger in nearly 40% of the test subjects. Bright lights came in next at almost 27%, with weather changes at 26% and sleep deprivation at 26%.
As for causes of vestibular migraine, doctors simply do not know. Like migraines, there are plenty of theories out there, but nothing very concrete.
It is difficult to determine how many people have vestibular migraine. The symptoms are too close to other symptoms of other disorders, making it hard to pinpoint. Researchers believe that about 1% of the population is affected, but that number could easily be much higher.
Like regular migraines, they tend to occur more often in women than men and usually strike later in life, when the patient is around 40 years old. However, it is not confined to just adults.
There are reported cases where children are diagnosed with vestibular migraine too.
Treatment for Vestibular Migraine
There are no specific medications or treatments for vestibular migraine. Like other types of migraine, treatment often depends on the patient and what they best respond to.
Often doctors will prescribe abortive therapy, meaning medications that will stop an attack. Other medications may ease the vertigo symptoms and others may be used to prevent attacks.
The most common vestibular migraine medications include:
Triptans – Abortive therapy to be taken at the first sign of migraine or headache.
Vestibular suppressant – Helps with the vertigo symptoms to ease dizziness and help with balance. Benzodiazepines and antihistamines are in this category.
Anti-nausea medication – Helps to ease the nausea associated with vertigo.
Prevention medication – Helps to prevent vestibular migraine. Seizure medication, certain antidepressants, and blood pressure medication fall under this category.
Sometimes the best you can do is manage your symptoms. My favorite cure for the nausea caused by the vertigo is sour candy. Sucking on a super sour candy when you begin to feel nauseous from the dizziness can help keep your stomach settled. It is also great for motion sickness. Carry some hard, sour candies (preferably sugar free), and when you start to feel woozy, pop one in your mouth. Don’t chew it, just slowly suck on it and you should feel better rather quickly.
Migraine glasses are great for filtering out the light and making the world a little more inhabitable. Look for lenses with SpectraShield to ensure you are getting glasses with latest research and most effective tint to guard against light sensitivity.
Ice packs can help with the migraine pain and magnesium cream massaged into the temples are also effective treatments.
Lifestyle changes are often recommended for patients who suffer from migraine. A healthy, balanced diet, exercise, proper hydration, and adequate, high quality sleep are all very important for keeping migraines at bay. Avoiding triggers is also a very good, healthy move.
Some patients have found relief with biofeedback methods. This is particularly helpful with people suffering from vertigo. There isn’t much data on it, but researchers and patients alike are hopeful.
There currently is not enough research on vestibular rehabilitation to establish it as an effective treatment for vestibular migraine, but it is very helpful for other vestibular conditions. What is interesting is that physiotherapy, a part of vestibular rehabilitation, has been found to be quite helpful in treating conditions that are considered to be complications of vestibular migraine such as fear of falling, anxiety, and not trusting the balance system.
Scientists, doctors, and researchers are delving deep into migraines, the brain, and related conditions. They are making great strides and there are several new, effective medications on the market to prove it. Vestibular migraine does present the added challenge of dizziness to the mix, but at its core, there are a number of markers that point to migraine.
If you believe you have vestibular migraine, talk to your doctor. He or she can diagnose the problem then discuss with you the best way to approach it.
Axon Optics has a wide selection of migraine glasses that are tinted with our own SpectraShield to ensure you have the utmost protection for your light sensitivity. Take a look for yourself and find a pair that suits your style, then join our every growing list of satisfied customers.
Here’s to fewer migraine days!
Axon Optics. “Are All FL-41 Migraine Relief Glasses Created Equal?” Axon Optics, 23 Apr. 2019, www.axonoptics.com/2018/12/are-all-fl-41-migraine-glasses-created-equal/.
Axon Optics. “Migraine Glasses – A Complete Guide (2019).” Axon Optics, 27 June 2019, www.axonoptics.com/2019/06/migraine-glasses-guide/.
Beh, Shin C. “Vestibular Migraine: How to Sort It Out and What to Do About It.” Journal of Neuro-Ophthalmology : the Official Journal of the North American Neuro-Ophthalmology Society, U.S. National Library of Medicine, June 2019, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31094996.
Bisdorff, Alexandre R. “Management of Vestibular Migraine.” Therapeutic Advances in Neurological Disorders, SAGE Publications, May 2011, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3105632/.
“Global Migraine Therapeutics Market 2019-2023 to Post a CAGR of 8.4%, Segmentation by Key Regions, Gross Margin, Profit, Analysis, Market Share: 360 Research Reports.” TheWindReports, thewindreports.com/global-migraine-therapeutics-market-2019-2023-to-post-a-cagr-of-8-4-segmentation-by-key-regions-gross-margin-profit-analysis-market-share-360-research-reports/29959/.
HospiMedica International. “Vestibular Event Monitor Provides Accurate Vertigo Diagnosis.” Hospimedica.com, HospiMedica International, 17 June 2019, www.hospimedica.com/health-it/articles/294778325/vestibular-event-monitor-provides-accurate-vertigo-diagnosis.html.
Lempert, et al. “Vestibular Migraine: Diagnostic Criteria.” Journal of Vestibular Research, IOS Press, 1 Jan. 2012, content.iospress.com/articles/journal-of-vestibular-research/ves00453.
“Oxford Textbook of Vertigo and Imbalance.” Google Books, books.google.com/books?id=lP_J8RCgWdkC&pg=PA308&lpg=PA308&dq=•+Directional+pulsion&source=bl&ots=ZwyW2HUTyN&sig=ACfU3U1OudJB-NJuKl9f3DoIV-B0Hhr7sg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwif8v7wu4vjAhVOa80KHWqaBsgQ6AEwBHoECAgQAQ#v=onepage&q=• Directional pulsion&f=false.
Purves, Dale. “The Vestibular System.” Neuroscience. 2nd Edition., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 1 Jan. 1970, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK10819/.
Robinson, Barbara Susan. “Common Vestibular Function Tests.” American Physical Therapy Association. http://www.neuropt.org/docs/vsig-english-pt-fact-sheets/common-vestibular-tests-performed.pdf?sfvrsn=525cce48_2
Rothbard, Gary. “Episodic Vertigo May Be Associated With Migraine.” Neurology Advisor, 7 May 2019, www.neurologyadvisor.com/topics/migraine-and-headache/episodic-vertigo-may-be-associated-with-migraine/.
Tilikete, Caroline, and Alain Vighetto. “Oscillopsia: Causes and Management.” Current Opinion in Neurology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Feb. 2011, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21102332.
“Vestibular Migraine (A.k.a. Migraine Associated Vertigo or MAV).” Vestibular Disorders Association, 3 July 2019, vestibular.org/migraine-associated-vertigo-mav.
“Vestibular Migraine Associated With Various Indicators, Comorbidities.” AJMC, www.ajmc.com/newsroom/vestibular-migraine-associated-with-various-indicators-comorbidities-.
Writer, Neurology Advisor Contributing. “Vestibular Migraine Features Wide Range of Symptoms and Comorbidities.” Neurology Advisor, 1 Apr. 2019, www.neurologyadvisor.com/advisor-channels/headache-migraine-advisor/vestibular-migraine-features-wide-range-of-symptoms-and-comorbidities/.
For the first time ever, Axon Optics is having a buy-a-frame-get-a-frame sale. Just add any frame to your cart, enter the code 4THOFJULY, and the Kenny indoor frame will be automatically added to your cart. You’ll see that the frame is free when you check out.
Get an extra frame for your home office, car, or purse. Or choose an outdoor frame and get the indoor Kenny frame free.
We’ve all felt it at some time, bright light that hurts. But that’s not you. No, forget the garden variety light sensitivity.
Yours is the serious stuff.
You know the drill: bright lights, pain, the overwhelming need to find a dark room in which to retreat.
You’re not alone, but is that really any consolation?
You want solutions — something that will block the light enough to prevent a migraine attack without leaving you totally in the dark. So with dark glasses out, so what’s left?
Two words: Migraine glasses.
Migraine glasses block certain wavelengths of light which may reduce or prevent light sensitivity and migraine. (Pictured: KULA frames by Axon Optics)
These specially tinted glasses are gaining popularity and getting rave reviews from users. What exactly are they though? How do they work? And the bigger question, DO they work?
We will answer those questions and more as we dive into the research behind migraine glasses, which includes more than 17 studies, reports, and articles. We’ll also look at the different lenses that claim to help with migraine, and perhaps most importantly, what actual users have to say about their effectiveness.
Several studies have shown that migraine glasses are effective in preventing light sensitive migraine. That in itself is impressive, but when you get real-person testimonials that back up those studies, that speaks volumes.
The bottom line is that real people who are using migraine glasses in their everyday lives are doing so with stellar results.
“I have struggled my whole life with fluorescent lights. I work in a hospital and fluorescent lights are everywhere,” Said Steven from Missouri. “I’ve been suffering with migraine symptoms about 3 days a week, every week.”
Fluorescent lights are particularly troublesome for people with light sensitivity and migraine.
Steven didn’t know much about migraine glasses, and wasn’t so quick to blindly jump on the bandwagon. He said, “I was very skeptical because I had never heard of glasses to help migraines.”
After purchasing eyewear from Axon Optics and wearing them for about a month, Steven was thrilled to discover he’d found a new tool for his migraine toolbox, “These work amazingly for me. I have not had a single migraine since I have been wearing these, not one!”
And a new fan was born.
While the results vary for every individual, research and testimonials show that certain types of lenses can help reduce the severity and frequency of migraine attacks.
We’ll start with the basics.
What are Migraine Glasses?
In order to fully understand the function of migraine glasses, it is important to first understand the nature of migraines. Make no mistake, a migraine is much more than a headache. Migraines themselves are incredibly painful, but these attacks often come with other symptoms — such as light sensitivity — that can make them excruciating.
Treatment can be a challenge too, because everyone experiences their migraines in unique ways. The symptoms and triggers are as varied as the people who get them. However, there are a handful of triggers that are pretty consistent with the majority of migraineurs, and light sensitivity tops the list.
Since light sensitivity is reported as both a common symptom and a common trigger (especially when it comes to glare), it’s no surprise that acontrolled study found that bright lights caused headaches in 29% of those surveyed, and aggravated headaches in 73% (along with other factors like skipping meals and stress).
To some extent, everyone is sensitive to light. For example, looking directly into the sun would be painful for anyone. But most people with migraine disease are hypersensitive to light. A sunny day that delights most of us can be excruciating for them, but even indoor lighting can hurt. It’s this degree of light sensitivity that sets them apart. In fact, more than 90% of people with migraine disease are sensitive to light (Source:Evans et al). And as you saw with Steven’s story above, ugly fluorescent lights can be particularly bothersome.
So, the natural conclusion here would be to block the light, right? Well, that’s easier said than done. For decades, migraineurs would retreat to darkened rooms or slip on dark sunglasses in order to ease their symptoms or keep migraines at bay. While these efforts seemed to work a little, they did not prove to be long term solutions.
And the research began.
The good news is that research shows only certain wavelengths of light are likely aggravate migraines (Source Katz B). So, it logically follows that finding a way to block those particular wavelengths should provide relief and even protection from light-triggered migraines.
Enter migraine glasses.
Migraine glasses filter the light that has been implicated in triggering and aggravating migraine attacks. They use a special coating on the lenses that is specifically designed to keep the “bad” light out and let the good light in. No substantially altered vision, no dark-adapted eyes, just light protection. Axon Optics migraine glasses have been shown to reduce the number of days with headache by 24%. An incredible 90% of those who tried them experienced a decrease in migraine attacks.
Data collected by Axon Optics using the Headache Impact Test (HIT-6) regarding Spectrashield lenses and their impact on headache, light sensitivity, and migraine frequency and impact.
However, the glasses you get from Axon Optics today are quite different from the earlier generations of glasses for light sensitivity.
Development and Design: The Story of Migraine Glasses
The development of migraine glasses spans several decades and entails a number of changes. The lenses you see today bear little resemblance to their predecessors. In fact, there are a number of different versions on the market today, some with significant variations. So how do you know which migraine glasses are the “right ones”?
Their history below provides some clues.
The idea of using special glasses to help people with light sensitivity issues is not a new one. Long ago doctors, researchers, and even patients realized that specialized glasses can help with light problems. However, it wasn’t until researchers started tweaking the lens tint that things got very interesting.
Let’s retrace that path and explore the evolution of migraine glasses.
University of Cambridge – It started with fluorescent lights
Late 1980 – Early 1990
Some of the earliest work involving the use of eyeglasses for therapeutic use began in the late 1980s-early 1990 at Cambridge University. Dr. Arnold Wilkins of Cambridge had a number of patients who complained that fluorescent lights caused them to experience eye-strain and headaches. In an effort to help them find some type of relief, he began developing a tint that would reduce what he hypothesized as the fluorescent light wavelengths that had the most rapid modulation from the lights.
After much trial and error, Dr. Wilkins and his team developed a tint they labeled FL-41, which had a brown-red color. The team tested the lens on some of Dr. Wilkins’ patients with impressive results. Many reported that the glasses provided much-needed relief, including one woman who had been ‘driven mad’ by fluorescent lighting all her life. She’d had to leave jobs because of her light sensitivity and the light-triggered migraine attacks that often followed. The lenses made it possible for her to remain in rooms lit with fluorescent lighting for several hours, without experiencing any photophobic symptoms.
Birmingham and Midland Eye Centre – tested on a cohort of children with migraine 1991
NeurophysiologistDr.Peter Good read Wilkins’ research and saw and opportunity for additional applications of the FL-41 tint. Dr Good worked with a group of kids with migraines at Birmingham hospital in England. Because fluorescent lights bothered them and often triggered their migraines, he wondered if the FL-41 tint might help them. He decided it was a question worth pursuing.
In the study led by Good, both FL-41 brown-red tinted and blue-tinted lenses were evaluated over a four-month period in a group of 20 children clinically diagnosed with migraines. After just one month of wear, these children reported a reduced headache frequency with both types of lenses. However, kids who wore the brown-red lenses continued to experience reduced migraines for the entire four-month study. The blue-tinted lens wearers did not.
At the end of four months, the migraine frequency in children wearing the brown-red tinted lenses had dropped from 6.2 per month to 1.6 per month. These results of this small study were published in a relatively small journal, and didn’t get much traction in the community.
University of Utah – Dr. – Digre Recommended it Early 1990
In the early 1990s, Dr. Kathleen Digre, a neuro-ophthalmologist and researcher at the University of Utah, frequently saw patients with migraine and light sensitivity issues. She had reviewed the article detailing Dr. Good’s study and decided to recommend the FL-41 tint to some of her own patients. The results were impressive to say the least.
Due to the success her patients experienced, Dr. Digre continued to recommend the tint. While she did not publish anything about the relief her patients experienced when using the FL-41 tint, it did open the door for researchers to look a little harder at the role it could play in preventing light-triggered migraine. It is also worth noting that in 2018, Dr. Digre became the president of the American Headache Society.
University of Utah – Dr Katz Studies it 1998
In 1998 Dr. Bradley Katz moved from Iowa to Utah to practice and research at the University’s hospital. As a neuro-ophthalmologist, he also saw many people with photophobia and migraine. His colleague, Dr. Digre, shared her patients’ successes with the FL-41 tint and recommended that he offer it to his patients. He decided to try it and collect the data on an informal basis. The success his patients experienced was very similar to Dr. Digre’s results. In fact, some of his patients showed dramatic improvement.
Dr. Katz and his research team showed the tint worked, but they didn’t know WHY it worked. “I didn’t think too much about it until 2002 when I read aresearch article published in Science, one of the most important publications in the scientific community,” says Dr. Katz. “The article explained that researchers had discovered a new type of cell in the eye.”
The article explained that when these cells (ipRGCs) were in the presence of light, they stimulated your internal clock which regulates your sleeping pattern (circadian process). These cells were super sensitive around blue-green light, or the 480 wavelength. Dr. Katz thought that these new cells might also contribute to photophobia.
“I ran a test on the Fl-41 lenses and it blocked 480,” says Dr.Katz. “So I put two and two together and saw that these aren’t just ‘magic glasses.” There is a physiological basis for them.”
However, not everyone was convinced. When Dr. Katz tried to share his findings, there was much skepticism among his colleagues. They were hesitant to get behind such a claim and scoffed at the idea of “magic glasses.” This attitude presented some roadblocks to further research, since the doctors and researchers were not quick to back such seemingly fanciful claims.
This did not deter Dr. Katz. He wanted to run some studies on glasses that block certain wavelengths of light, and explore the possibilities that presented. This would also allow migraine glasses to get firmer footing within the scientific community. Up to that point, the bulk of the “migraine glasses” success stories, although frequent, were still anecdotal.
University of Utah – Light Sensitivity Studies Late 2000
In the late 2000s, Dr. Bradley Katz conducted several studies using an updated, lighter version of the tint with more of a rose hue as opposed to the earlier red-brown. He tested the tinted lenses on patients who had a knownlight sensitivity condition which causes involuntary squeezing of the eyes (calledblepharospasm).
Dr. Katz tested these patients because he could receive survey feedback back and actually measure how much they blinked. This provided more concrete evidence of the lenses’ effectiveness, since objectively measuring migraine is difficult. The results were very positive. Most of the participants observed improvement while wearing the updated rose tint — significantly more than the gray-tinted lenses also used in the study. Furthermore, their involuntary eye movements significantly decreased.
However, it wasn’t just the color of the lens that made the glasses work. His analysis showed that the wavelengths played a vital role in their effectiveness. Dr. Katz tested a generic rose colored lens against the “updated rose FL-41” lens, and saw that the two were not the same. His updated FL-41 lens tested significantly better.
Harvard and Utah – Cells that aggravate migraine are identified (even in the blind) 2010
Around the same time, Dr. Kathleen Digre was working with Dr. Rami Burstein out of Harvard University. Through their research, they confirmed that these recently discovered ipRGC cells were a cause of migraine attacks. They accomplished this by showing thatlight caused pain and headaches in people who were blind (sounds a bit crazy, but it’s true).
Dr. Burstein believed that while the pain from headaches can incapacitate people with migraine, “it is their inability to endure light that most often disables them.”
University of Harvard – Green Light July 2016
Dr. Burstein found that exposing migraine sufferers to a narrow band of green light significantly reduced photophobia which, in turn, also reduced headache severity. He and his research team decided that the color that is the most comfortable is right between 480 and 590, which is a green hue. This provided further evidence backing Dr. Katz’s research conducted at around the same time, which proved migraineurs and those with light sensitivity should avoid 480 light.
All other colors increased headache pain at all intensities, while soft or intermediate green light on average reduced pain. Noseda et al./Brain.
Since 2011, Axon Optics has been developing precision-tinted eyewear with purpose. As technology has advanced, our primary mission has remained constant: to help people who suffer from light sensitivity and migraine to suffer less.
We’ve Been Hard at Work, and the Data Is In
We admit it — we’re data nerds. We’ve been busy surveying Axon Optics user experiences, asking them questions, and compiling the insights they’ve given us. To be exact, we conducted a HIT-6 survey. HIT-6 is a clinically-validated tool for measuring the impact of headache (it literally stands for Headache Impact Test). Using this tool, we surveyed 230 users both before and after wearing our glasses for 4 weeks. And what happened? The vast majority of Axon users — 85% — saw a decrease in headache impact over the study period.
So for the lion’s share of Axon Optics customers, our glasses are doing exactly what we designed them to do: help migraine sufferers suffer less. Those are pretty solid results, but they don’t end there.
Fewer Headache Days
When you get a migraine, it ruins your day. You probably can’t function at work or school, and you certainly don’t feel like going out with your friends or playing with your kids when you’re down and out with a massive headache. Most migraineurs would call a migraine day a bad day, and they want fewer bad days.
When it comes to fewer headache days, Axon Optics eyeglasses appear to have a positive effect there, too. In addition to our HIT-6 survey, we asked participants about their number of migraine days before and after the testing period. Their responses show a 27% decrease in number of headache days!
As you probably know, Axon Optics eyewear is developed specifically for people with light sensitivity, or photophobia. Photophobia can not only trigger migraine attacks, but can also cause other symptoms, such as:
Nausea and dizziness
Redness, itching, or swelling
Headache and stiff neck
And since more than 90% of migraine sufferers also have light sensitivity, these two conditions appear to be closely related. So if you’re among that majority, you’ll probably be happy to know when we asked our HIT-6 participants a separate question about light sensitivity, too. We found our glasses made a big difference, decreasing participant light sensitivity impact by 39%, with 84% of users reporting a decrease.
Headache Severity Down by Nearly Half
There are plenty of tools out there designed — even proven — to decrease the severity of migraine. Pharmaceuticals, supplements, lifestyle changes, and dietary restrictions may all have their place in your arsenal. But if you’re looking to reduce the severity of the impact migraine has on your life, our HIT-6 study shows the promise in Axon Optics eyewear for that purpose. In fact, at the beginning of our study, 90% of our participants (207 of 230) reported being “severely impacted” by their headaches. After the study period, only 47% reported being severely impacted by headaches while using our glasses. That’s a reduction of nearly 50%!
Also significant is the number of participants dropping from “daily” or “chronic” headache territory into “episodic” headache territory. Those suffering from daily headaches (a total of 31 during the survey period) dropped from a beginning point of 85 respondents to 50 respondents — a 41% decrease. Those reporting chronic headaches (15 to 29 during the survey period) went from 31 participants to 23 — a 26% drop.
More Than Numbers
These results are encouraging — to us and to those looking to get some help with light sensitivity and migraine. But as we stated before, the mission of Axon Optics has always been to help migraine sufferers suffer less. And while the results of our HIT-6 survey and many other studies back up the efficacy of our products, the most rewarding part of what we do is hearing from you. With more than 700 customer ratings, we have an average of 4.3 stars. To us, that means our eyewear is making a difference in the lives of those who use it, and that’s what we’re here for.
Perhaps even more telling than the reviews is the fact that a great majority of our survey respondents said they would recommend Axon Optics eyewear to others with similar symptoms. Over half ranked their likelihood of doing so at a 10 out of 10.
We’ll continue to keep a close eye on the development of non-invasive tools to fight the frequency and severity of migraine headaches. We also endeavor to make strides in our own technology, and will report those strides as they are made. Until then, we hope you’ll try our light-filtering eyewear for light sensitivity and migraine, and let us know how they work for you.
The data shows it: you can fight back against light sensitivity and migraine.
“Get a little sunshine!” “Open a window; it’s too dark in here!” “Why do you keep it so dark in here! Turn on some lights!”
Do you cringe when someone says these things to you? Do you seek out the darkened corners of a room, pulling down the shades and lowering the lights? Does every supernova light ray, every blinding glare, somehow find its way to your very sensitive eyes?
Is the ensuing pain like a thunderclap in your cranium?
If so, you might be a migraineur and light is your kryptonite.
Light can be a real problem for someone with migraine that is triggered by photophobia.
And light sensitivity is no joke. It can literally bring you to your knees with watery eyes, eye pain, and migraine. Oh, the migraine.
The light can feel as if it is boring a hole through your skull. Your only escape, only chance at relief, is to block those vicious, searing rays.
For many this means retreating to a darkened room. Taking the light down a notch or twelve does sometimes help the pain slowly subside.
Then there are those who try to defy the migraine prison. They are determined to keep going, regardless. One of the most popular methods for rebelling against light sensitive migraine is a simple pair of sunglasses with very dark lenses.
But just how effective are dark glasses for migraine?
You’re probably going to be pretty surprised at the answer to that.
Dark glasses for migraine: They’re everywhere!
In April of this year, representatives from Axon Optics attended Retreat Migraine, a patient focused conference for people with migraine disease. It offers support to migraineurs as well as disease and treatment education. Attendees were treated to complementary therapy experiences while learning about the latest treatments and medications for migraine.
Needless to say, there was a high concentration of migraineurs attending the conference. Some were pretty easy to spot because they were the ones wearing their dark glasses indoors. The lights were dimmed during the entire conference but many attendees were still donning dark glasses for migraine as their only recourse against those stray, rebel rays of insidious light, lest it somehow find its way past that barrier.
Unfortunately, this is not unusual. Many people feel that slipping on dark sunglasses is the quickest, easiest way to get relief from light sensitivity and migraine pain. It seems like a perfectly reasonable, logical response to bright or flickering lights – but it isn’t.
In fact, it is one of the worst things you can do when you have a migraine attack.
Dark glasses lead to dark adaptation, and therein lies the rub.
Dark glasses partially block the sun’s glare. That is what they were designed to do.
Wearing them as a tool for managing your migraine is a very different issue and presents several problems. This is especially true when you are wearing them indoors.
First, the rays from the sun’s glare are not the same as the light emanating from a lamp or overhead bulb. Wearing dark glasses in that environment will often make it seem even darker, much darker than wearing the glasses and venturing outside.
This leads to a condition known as dark adaptation. It means that the eyes adjust to low light intensities. This affects the pupil’s reflex dilation, activating the rod cells in the eye instead of the cone cells.
Rod cells and cone cells are photoreceptors in the retinas of the eye. They allow the eye to focus and function by helping it adjust to its environment. Each type responds to light in a different way, allowing the eye to adapt to varying levels of light.
Cone cells are activated in bright or well lit environments. They are also responsible for color vision. Rod cells, on the other hand, are activated in dim light where they allow the eye to function better in a low light situation.
Activating rod cells (low light) when the environment calls for cone cells (bright light) can cause a number of issues with the eye, including headaches and migraine.
If you have light sensitivity issues, it is perfectly understandable that your first instinct would be to reach for your sunglasses to get some relief. The problem is, it likely does more harm than good.
Dark adapting eye issues.
Chances are, you’ve experienced dark adaptation at some point. If you’ve ever walked out of a dark environment like a movie theater and stepped into the bright sunshine you probably felt a little overwhelmed by the light because it seemed so intense. Then your eyes adjusted, and you were better.
That’s what dark adapting is. When you were in the darkened environment, the rod cells in your retinas were activated and your eyes adapted to the dark. When you stepped into the sunshine, the rod cells were still activated, leaving your pupils dilated, which allowed them to take in more light in that dimly lit room.
So essentially, in those first few moments of walking from dark to light, you got an extra helping of sunlight in your eyes because they were dark adapted at the time of first exposure. Once the cone cells took over your eyes adjusted better to the lighted environment.
While dark adaptation is a perfectly natural biological response, it can become a problem when the normal function of the eye is disrupted.
Wearing dark glasses indoors actually trains your eye to stay in a chronic dark adaptive state.
It lets very little light in, so the rod cells are always active. Basically, it’s like you have been living underground.
Dark Adaptation Makes Your Eyes MORE Sensitive to Light!
In October 2010, 33 Chilean miners were trapped underground for two months. Being in that darkened environment for such a long time caused the chemical processes that govern the pupil’s reaction to light (contract and dilate) to become significantly reduced. The sudden, bright burst of light as they moved from underground to above ground could actually cause damage because their eyes were not prepared to block the light. They had essentially lost the capability to make the necessary adjustments.
There is sufficient evidence to suggest that such long term dark adaptation (the effects that prolonged darkness has on vision) is reversible. In the case of the miners, the rescue crew equipped them with special glasses as they came out of the mine. Their hospital rooms were kept dark for several days after the rescue and then light was slowly reintroduced.
While this is an extreme case since the miners had extremely low light, the same principle applies. The same biological processes occur whether you are trapped in a mine or wearing dark glasses indoors. The levels of dark adaptation may vary somewhat, but the risks are still there. You might not have as difficult time as those Chilean miners but wearing dark glasses for migraine will result in you experiencing, to a somewhat lesser degree, the same dark adapting eye issues that they faced.
In short, it can exacerbate your light sensitivity.
New research shows that dark glasses for migraine may be counterproductive.
Several migraine studies have shown that completely avoiding triggers may cause a person to become more sensitive to them. Martin’s Trigger Avoidance Model of Headache (TAMH) suggests that instead of instructing migraine patients to avoid their migraine triggers, that doctors should instead be helping them learn to cope with the triggers.
Researchers have found that patients who undergo brief exposure to a migraine trigger results in that person experiencing an increased sensitivity to that trigger. On the other hand, patients who undergo longer periods of exposure to a migraine trigger experience a decreased sensitivity to the trigger.
This means that wearing dark glasses for migraine or retreating to a dark room in order to avoid migraine triggers could actually be causing your migraines to be not only worse, but more frequent as well. It definitely does not help light sensitive eye issues.
Cognitive behavioral therapy has been a successful treatment for migraines simply because it teaches the patient how to manage their triggers. It does not advise cutting out the triggers completely.
So beyond the dark adaptive eye problems, you could be making your light sensitivity issues worse by wearing the dark glasses indoors. While it may provide temporary relief from painful light, it can you to experience increased pain when you aren’t wearing them. It can also get gradually worse until you are wearing your glasses all the time.
The good news is, you don’t have to venture out with no protection at all. You do have options – healthier options for products and methods that are better and more effective for migraine patients.
Better options for light sensitive migraine relief.
Many migraineurs see only two options when trying to avoid an attack. They either remain in their home with the lights off and shades drawn, or they wear sunglasses indoors. But as we see in the studies here, that is not only ineffective, it is a really bad idea.
The general consensus among researchers is that a migraineur is better off remaining wherever they are – work, church, school – and wearing specially tinted migraine glasses than they are going home and retreating to a dark room.
By continuing to expose yourself to triggers (in a controlled environment) you are inadvertently making your light sensitivity issues and migraine worse. Instead, you should opt for allowing for some exposure to your migraine trigger.
Migraine glasses have specially tinted lenses that lessen the glare from light, but still provide a level of protection from it. They shield your eyes from painful light but don’t block out the light completely like dark sunglasses do. And because some light can come in, it prevents your eyes from getting dark adaptive. This could mean attacks that are fewer in number and shorter in duration.
Axon Optics carries a line of both indoor and outdoor migraine glasses. The precision tinted lenses are coated with the FL-41 tint that reduces the eye’s exposure to painful rays. These migraine glasses are a much better choice that dark glasses for migraine could ever be. We have a number of great frames for men, women, and kids, ranging from vintage to classic to modern.
So, put away those dark glasses and meet your migraine head on. Try a pair of Axon’s migraine glasses and retire those old dark glasses. It’s a new day with new possibilities for overcoming your migraine. Grab it with both hands and hang on.
Axon Optics. (2018, April 04). Are you Dark Adapting Your Eyes? Retrieved from https://www.axonoptics.com/2018/04/are-you-dark-adapting-your-eyes/
Digre, K. B., & Brennan, K. C. (2012, March). Shedding light on photophobia. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3485070/
Hannibal, J., Georg, B., Hindersson, P., & Fahrenkrug, J. (n.d.). Light and darkness regulate melanopsin in the retinal ganglion cells of the albino wistar rat. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1385/JMN:27:2:147
Hayne, D. P., & Martin, P. R. (2019, March). Relating Photophobia, Visual Aura, and Visual Triggers of Headache and Migraine. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30737782
Katz, B. J., & Digre, K. B. (2016). Diagnosis, pathophysiology, and treatment of photophobia. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26875996
Kubik, S. U., & Martin, P. R. (2017, February). The Headache Triggers Sensitivity and Avoidance Questionnaire: Establishing the Psychometric Properties of the Questionnaire. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27753075
Light Sensitivity Triggers Migraines. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.axonoptics.com/light-sensitivity-triggers-migraines/
Light Sensitivity Triggers Migraines. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.axonoptics.com/light-sensitivity-triggers-migraines/
Light and Dark Adaptation by Michael Kalloniatis and Charles Luu. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://webvision.med.utah.edu/book/part-viii-psychophysics-of-vision/light-and-dark-adaptation/
Main, A., Dowson, A., & Gross, M. (1997, September). Photophobia and phonophobia in migraineurs between attacks. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9329231
Martin. (n.d.). Managing headache triggers: Think ‘coping’ not ‘avoidance’ – PR Martin, 2010. Retrieved from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1468-2982.2009.01989.x
Mayberry, S. A. (2019, April 23). Do Indoor Sunglasses for Light Sensitivity Really Work? Retrieved from https://www.axonoptics.com/2017/06/indoor-sunglasses-light-sensitivity-really-work/
Palmer, B., & Palmer, B. (2010, October 11). What are the health effects of spending more than two months in a Chilean mine? Retrieved from https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2010/10/what-are-the-health-effects-of-spending-more-than-two-months-in-a-chilean-mine.html
Photophobia and Light Sensitivity Guide. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.axonoptics.com/photophobia-and-light-sensitivity/
RetreatMigraine. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://headachemigraine.org/retreatmigraine/
We’ve all been there. Bright lights, flashing lights, even illness can cause light to be bothersome. But this goes beyond “bothersome.”
It really bugs – you to the point that your eyes water and you can’t keep them open. It hurts. Even though everyone around you is acting like nothing is wrong, you are desperately trying to cover your eyes to block out the painful light.
When you walk outside it feels as if the sun is bearing down on you, boring into your skull with its tendrils of piercing light.
Glare from light reflecting off of certain surfaces like white cars, silver buildings, and mirrors or windows will send you scurrying back to the darkened comfort of the indoors.
And yet even indoors light can launch an assault.
Light sensitivity is a common problem that can keep you from doing the things you enjoy. It can happen in varying degrees, in certain circumstances, or in response to exposure to certain types of light. It can get worse as you age, when you are tired, or when you are stressed out. You can have it indoors, outdoors, or both. Light sensitivity can be a minor annoyance, or it can stop you in your tracks. Many people learn coping strategies that allow them to function. Some are never able to find something that works.
So, what does it mean when light hurts? We have some answers.
Eyes sensitive to light? One of these may be the culprit.
Light sensitivity is not a condition of the eye, rather it’s a symptom of one. Eyes that are inflamed or infected can become sensitive to light. If you stay in a dark room and walk into a lit area you may experience temporary light sensitivity.
Some of the more common causes of light sensitivity include:
Dry Eye – This happens when your eyes do not produce adequate tears for lubrication. This can be a very uncomfortable condition and light sensitivity is often a significant symptom.
Eye Fatigue – Your eyes are just like other parts of your body; if you use them too much, they become tired. Straining to see when reading and working on a computer or digital device for a long time are two common causes of eye fatigue. It can cause eyes to itch, hurt, and be sensitive to light.
Preeclampsia – A complication of pregnancy, this potentially life threatening condition causes dangerously high blood pressure which can affect and injure the organs. Sometimes the retina becomes damaged as a result of the hypertension and this can cause light sensitivity along with other serious symptoms.
Concussion – This is a form of traumatic brain injury that is typically the result of a blow to the head. Though the effects are usually temporary, they may not be noticed right away. Light sensitivity may be one of those symptoms that suddenly appear but typically is not a long term problem.
Allergies – When your come into contact with an allergen it can wreak havoc with your eyes. Dust mites, pollen, animal dander, and mold are very common allergens that can cause your eyes to water, itch, burn, and be very sensitive to light.
Keratoconus – Normal corneas are typically round, but people with this condition have corneas that are cone shaped. This can cause a host of eye problems, including vision distortion and light sensitivity.
Keratitis – This is a broad term to describe an inflammation of the cornea. It can be caused by bacteria, a virus, or for wearing your contacts for too long. Despite the cause, light sensitivity is often a primary symptom.
Sensory Processing Disorder – SPD is a neurological condition in which the brain is not able to process certain stimuli. It is not a recognized medical diagnosis on its own; it often accompanies autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, Downs Syndrome, and other conditions. When the brain is not able to effectively receive and respond to the information from the senses like touch, sight, or hearing, it can cause discomfort. In the case of visual SPD, light sensitivity is a very common symptom.
Uveitis – This is a broad term that describes several diseases of the eye that cause severe inflammation. They can destroy the eye tissue. Uveitis can be causes by multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, and other health conditions, but it can also be caused by an eye infection. Vision can be affected, and it may cause pain and redness as well as light sensitivity.
Corneal abrasion – Simply put, a corneal abrasion is a scratch or cut on the eye. Foreign objects that get in your eye, even tiny specks like sand or dirt, can cause a painful abrasion. The eye is usually very sensitive to light, but other symptoms may include blurred vision, redness, headache, tearing, and the sensation that something is in your eye.
Migraine – Migraine is not just a headache, it is a neurological condition that is marked by severe head pain, nausea, vomiting, vision disturbances, and light sensitivity.
There are many reasons you may be sensitive to light. If it comes on suddenly or if you have other symptoms you should see a doctor. It could mean that you have a more serious health condition like meningitis, mercury poisoning, or botulism.
Are blue eyes really more sensitive to light?
There is a bit of a debate within the medical community regarding whether eye color affects a person’s light sensitivity. One camp says that people with lighter colored eyes, like blue, tend to be more sensitive to light while they darker eyed counterparts don’t struggle with it as much.
The other camp asserts that eye color has nothing to do with light sensitivity, often citing the potential for other conditions or contributing factors. There are strong arguments on both sides, so it doesn’t look like it will be resolved any time soon.
What color are your eyes? Are you sensitive to light? (link to poll – blue eyes sensitive to light)
Eyes sensitive to light? When to see a doctor.
Usually light sensitivity is an irritation or an annoyance. The light bothers you, so you put on some sunglasses or migraine glasses and all is well. However, sometimes it can be a sign that something else is going on or indicate a more serious condition. It is important to know when you should call the doctor for your light sensitivity.
Call your doctor immediately or go to the nearest emergency room if:
Your light sensitivity is moderate or severe.
Even in light conditions cause discomfort.
You have hit your head or lost consciousness.
Your light sensitivity is accompanied by a stiff neck, headache, and nausea (and it isn’t a migraine).
You have an abrasion on your eye’s surface.
Don’t take chances. You want to protect your vision and stay healthy. If your light sensitivity is accompanied by any other symptoms that you find disturbing, don’t wait to see if it goes away or gets worse. Call your doctor right away. Trust your instincts.
What to do if you have light sensitivity.
There are ways to get some relief from light sensitivity. Light filtering lenses that are specifically designed for blocking certain types of light that are known to cause a sensitivity to light can help tremendously. You should also look at what is causing the problem. For instance, if you have dry eye you can get drops and treat that in addition to treating the light sensitivity issue.
A hat or cap with a brim can provide some shade from the light when you are outdoors. Inside, you should avoid fluorescent lights if possible. If you use a computer, control the brightness and dim it as needed. Use incandescent light bulbs when possible. They provide softer, more natural light so they should be easier on the eyes.
If light sensitivity is a problem for you, Axon Optics has solutions. Our line of migraine and light sensitivity glasses are specially tinted to significantly reduce glare, bringing you fast relief. We have several stylish frames for men, women, and kids and tinting for indoors as well as out. Visit our website today and find the light sensitivity glasses that are right for you.
Recently, people with migraine have had some excellent opportunities to learn and connect. This past weekend (April 12-14) Nicole I attended Retreat Migraine, the first patient-focused conference for migraine.
One of my favorite sessions was led by Dr. Melissa Geraghty and Jaime Sanders, aka the MigraineDiva. They spoke on migraine and mental health. Jaime shared her mantra:
You are not your migraine
You are not your mental illness
You are uniquely made
You are who you are supposed to be right now in this time and space
BE KIND TO YOURSELF
You are worth loving yourself
Here is the full talk on migraine and mental health. You can find it and more posted on the CHAMP – Coalition For Headache And Migraine Patients Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CoalitionCHAMP/
We had a chance to speak with many attendees and organizers of the event because we had a small table to let people try on our eyewear and also our supplements. We enjoyed getting to know so many of our Axon users and seeing some of them tag us at the event.
In March, Lori attended the Migraine World Summit in Las Angeles. It’s a free online event featuring dozens of migraine experts. Check it out at https://www.migraineworldsummit.com/
Migraine attacks? Sensitive to light? Just need a dark, quite dark room? The majority of migraineurs are light sensitive. Axon Optics develops eyewear that is shown to block the wavelengths of light that have been implicated in triggering migraine. Our proprietary eyewear (i.e. migraine glasses or light sensitivity glasses) is available for free to Veterans through any Veterans Administration nationwide.
What should you do next? Just download a pdf of these instructions using the button below, print it out, and take it into your VA. When scheduling your appointment, if possible ask for Prosthetics and Sensory Aids Service; Ophthalmology; or Neurology – one of them should know how to proceed. Or you can submit the form below and Axon Optics will contact your VA on your behalf.
Alternately, you can ask your contact at the VA to contact Axon Optics directly for personalized setup instructions. They can reach us at email@example.com. These locations below are already placing orders and may be able to provide you faster service.
Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System
Prosthetic and Sensory Aids Service (121/LR)
4300 West 7th Street
Little Rock, AR 72205
Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System
Eugene J. Towbin Healthcare Center
North Little Rock Prosthetic (598AO/121)2200
Fort Roots Drive
CAVHS BLDG. 170
North Little Rock, AR 72114
Veterans Administration: Joint Ambulatory Care Center Eye Clinic
790 Veterans Way
Pensacola, FL 32507
Chicago VA – Captain James A. Lovell Fede (556/121)
3001 Green Bay Rd.
North Chicago, IL 60064
Marion Illinois VAMC (657A5)121)
2401 W. Main St.
Marion, IL 62959
Des Moines VAMC (636A6/121)
3600 30th St
Des Moines, IA 50310
Iowa City VAMC (636A8/121)
601 Hwy 6 W.
Iowa City, IA 52246
Ann Arbor VAMC (506/121) 2215 Fuller Road Ann Arbor, MI 48105 734-769-7100
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so a moving picture must be worth more, right?
And sometimes a picture conveys what you don’t have the words to express.
If you’re like most migraineurs, there just aren’t adequate words to describe your migraine.
These migraine gifs do an exceptional job of capturing the struggle that migraineurs experience every day. They accurately illustrate visual auras, depict migraine pain with startling clarity, and echo the words most of us have uttered at one time or another while in the throes of a migraine attack.
Some are serious, but most put a humorous spin on the situation. Who would have thought that Spongebob with a hangover bears an eerie resemblance to you at the peak of your migraine?
This is our round up of some of the best migraine gifs out there. Maybe you’ll find some that speak to you.
Maybe you’ll find a couple that will help those around you understand how you feel during an attack.
Hopefully you’ll get a chuckle or two from some of the sillier ones.
Laughter is the best medicine, you know.
Poor Donald! We wouldn’t wish a migraine on anyone, but it sure seems like that is what he is experiencing. Haven’t we all felt like this at one time or another? Sometimes, in the midst of a migraine, doesn’t it feel like a hammer to the head would be an improvement?
In case you’re wondering, it isn’t! Kids, don’t try this at home!
We have a face we show the world but the reality behind it is often vastly different. That is the life of a migraineur – or anyone with chronic pain, for that matter. This is a good reminder to those who don’t experience migraine that while you seem fine, you really aren’t.
It could open the door to some good discussions on your condition and even the support that you need from friends and family.
This is one of several migraine gifs that shows what a visual aura looks like – or one type anyway. This one is just a blurry spot in the person’s field of vision. Sometimes though, it’s a black spot or a bright, flashing spot. Everyone is different and everyone’s migraine experience is different.
This is just one of many types of auras, but it can be a great introduction to life with migraine.
Just about anyone with migraine can relate to this. Your head is throbbing, feels like it is going to fall off and fly around the room. If you’ve never had a migraine it would be difficult for you to understand. There is no pain like it and, in fact, it does often feel exactly how this migraine gif looks.
On the heavy metal migraine scale, mother of Metallica must rank at about a 9 or 10. That’s gotta hurt pretty bad. If you’ve ever had one of those mind slamming attacks that come out of nowhere, you can definitely empathize with the sentiments expressed here.
The cool part is that you can say this in front of the kids! Totally accurate and totally clean. Score!
This is a very common migraine aura although the light may be in a different pattern or there may be certain points in the field of vision that are dark or very bright. Ocular migraines sometimes look like this.
And that’s a big thing that most people don’t understand about migraines. They are so much more than a headache.
This is a rather beautiful depiction of a migraine. The details are astounding. Notice the bags and circles under her eyes, the drawn face – every aspect of this migraine gif brings the pain to heart rending life. Kudos to the artist who created this. They obviously are intimately acquainted with migraine pain.
This is one of the most moving pieces of migraine art out there.
Lights are a huge problem for most migraineurs. Light sensitivity can often trigger migraine attacks so the relationship that they have with light is tenuous at best. Add to that auras that have flashing lights and you have the makings of a very painful experience.
Migraine glasses help tremendously with lights like this and other types of light that can trigger a migraine attack.
Well, your migraine might not be your “bestie” but you do find yourself in an uneasy alliance as you live with it. Frenimies is probably more like it.However, when your migraine is quiet it is certainly easier to live with although you may spend that time wondering and worrying when it will decide to attack again.
This is another art gif that depicts the progression of a migraine attack with a rawness, an aching beauty that only someone who has endured the pain would understand. As she transforms you can see the pain etched on her face. And those of us who have been there are nodding, saying, “Yes, I know exactly how that is.”
Warning: This migraine gif is completely mesmerizing. It’s hard to look away.
While this migraine gif may be a little heavy on the histrionics, it can be pretty accurate when it comes to an attack. Plus, who doesn’t love a little Ferris Bueller? And Cameron is always a favorite, albeit a little on the dramatic side.
But if you’ve ever laid in bed, reeling from a wicked migraine attack, you can probably totally relate.
When you are in the middle of a vicious migraine attack it can feel as if your brain is twisted. In fact, many people report feeling like their head is being squeezed or “wrung out.” This gif gives you a pretty good visual of what that feels like.
Put this one in your back pocket for those curl up in a darkened room days. Use it as your “Do Not Disturb” sign.
Warding off a migraine can feel a lot like this. Yes, it’s a clip from a cheesy old movie, but it is the epitome of living with migraine. You never know when it will attack or if you will be able to stop it before it takes you down for the count. It just keeps coming at you until it consumes you.
If you’re lucky, your meds work. But let’s be honest. How often does that really happen?
Visual snow is a type of migraine aura although it can occur without migraine. It is characterized by dots or “snow” like a television that is not getting reception that occur in all or part of a person’s field of vision. Many people don’t realize that they have it because they are used to it and don’t know what it’s like to not have visual snow. Even if you don’t get a migraine with it, visual snow can still be a problem due to obstruction of vision and severe light sensitivity.
Imagine having this or some version of this in your field of vision – unless you have visual snow, then you know it all too well.
Guess even the Fresh Prince gets a migraine now and then. Of course, we’ve all been there – at work, school, taking care of the kids – any place where we have to keep going despite the pain in your head. The pounding won’t stop yet you must carry on. That, my friends, is true misery. You have no escape, no relief, you just keep on pressing on.
The face is great though. How many times have you felt just like that?
A migraine can make you hurt all over and feel like you would have to get better to die. If you have to be around people while you are in pain though, I guess the best way to handle it is to explain it with a smile – the first time anyway.
OK, show of hands. Who’s felt like this? This migraine gif is one of our favorites because it really paints a pretty accurate picture of how a migraine feels. It’s like there’s a little alien chewing on your brain. And all you can do is sit there. You just have to wait for it to pass.
Of course, retreating to a cool, dark room and hiding out in bed until the attack passes is a pretty attractive option too.
Visual disruption is fairly common with migraine aura. However, some people get the visual disruption during an attack. Some experience the light and lines as depicted here, while other s experience shadows or blacked out portions of their visual field.
This can be scary and make it pretty tough to do anything other than curl into the fetal position and wait for your migraine to pass.
Ah! The ultimate migraine hat! No, it isn’t pretty, but it sure is functional! That would effective block the noise and it wouldn’t be too difficult to block the light as well. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a hat like that just for your migraines?
There are migraine gifs, and then there are MIGRAINE GIFS. This one definitely falls into the latter category. It hits so very close to home.
We’ve all had this day even if you don’t get migraine. Poor old Spongebob. He is feeling pretty rough. And isn’t it always so lovely when someone comes along and tells you how bad you look? It’s like, “I had forgotten for a minute how bad I look with this migraine. Thank you so much for coming along and reminding me.”
At Axon Optics, we’re big on science. You’ve probably read about it here on our website (if not, look here to learn more). To make a long story short, clinical studies have proven the value of our migraine glasses in filtering out offending light to lessen the effects of photophobia — not the least of which is migraine.
We love science. It’s more than something to hang our hat on; it explains how our products work. But it’s not why we created them.
We founded Axon Optics because the science helped us understand the difference our products could make in the day to day lives of users. It’s about reducing painful interruptions in your life and making it more livable. It’s about giving you the opportunity to go outside, shop, sit next to a window, or stay productive at work without being sidelined with a migraine.
Axon Optic is about people like you, who have learned from experience the difference that Axon Optics eyewear can make in their ability to function. This is why we’ll continue sharing the stories of real users who’ve shared their unique stories online. We hope you’ll reach out and share your story as well.
Today, meet Laura.
Laura wears her Axon Optics CoverRx lenses to reduce symptoms of light sensitivity.
Laura had her first migraine at age 13. At first, her attacks were pretty infrequent but seemed to be triggered by changes in the weather, light sensitivity, and stress.
But when Laura got older, everything changed. About two years ago, she wrote in a journal entry:
“I miss what it’s like not to have a headache of some kind, whether it be a tension headache that can escalate to a migraine or a migraine itself. I find myself hating sunshine because it’s one of my triggers.”
Laura began to suffer migraine headaches just about every day. Her doctor prescribed a “cocktail” of medications for migraine prophylaxis, but she still didn’t get much relief, so she decided not to take them anymore. A few months later, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor.
Her tumor was removed, but she still suffers the same triggers she did when she was younger, when a migraine attack will sometimes try to creep in. So Laura was glad to try Axon Optics eyewear for light sensitivity and share her story on her blog.
“For the first use, I deliberately picked a sunny winter day after a fresh snowfall when there was a good deal of sunlight reflecting off the snow. These are the days I would normally spend in my bedroom with the shades drawn, but I threw open my shades with the intent to give these glasses a go! I was pleasantly surprised when I put them on. The lenses gave everything a sort of rose-colored tint. This muted the bright light without making it difficult to see…. I also discovered that the glasses were effective even in a dark room with only a bright lamp for light.
“I recently drove myself to a doctor’s appointment on a mostly sunny day. Of course, I had to bring along my Axon Optics glasses to try. I must say they worked like a charm!…It’s wonderful to have a product that actually does what it claims to do — reduce the frequency and severity of migraines.”
We’re grateful to Laura for sharing her story, and we’d love to hear yours. Please send your experience to firstname.lastname@example.org