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Can Strobe Lights Cause Migraines

What Causes Ocular Migraines

Migraine aura, light flashes, blurry vision, headache – A State of Sight #39

Theyre thought to originate in a similar way as migraine headaches, by irregular electrical activity in the brain. Genetics play a role in who experiences migraines, and theyre also more common in women. Potential triggers include certain MSG-containing foods, harsh light, stress and changes in weather.

Although the root cause is the same, it is not known why some people experience migraine pain after visual disturbances and others dont or why the same person might experience both on different occasions.

It is quite common that as women get older, they might have fewer headaches and less pain but more of these auras, Dr. Estemalik says.

Best Lighting For Migraines Or Headaches

Migraine sufferers will tell you that their headaches get triggered by so many things. The migraine sensitivity to things like sleep deprivation, stress and other factors can be something that is extremely difficult to deal with.

A recent survey indicates that almost 90% of all migraine sufferers are triggered by bright or flickering lights. This can either be due to the brightness, the color temperature, or even the light wavelengths.

What is the Best Lighting for Migraines?Dimmed down incandescent lighting has always been the best lighting for migraines, but since those bulbs are essentially eliminated, your best choice will be the light from a 2700k LED bulb.

Theraspecs Might Help Reduce The Harm Of Flashing Lights

Not only can TheraSpecs tinted glasses for migraine reduce blue light exposure, but they can also minimize the pain caused by flashing lights. One of our favorite testimonials comes from Rachel in Connecticut:

“The glasses worked! I thought I would never be able to go to another concert again. I have light-induced migraines and the lasers and flashing lights used to ruin my concert experience. I just got back from a Justin Timberlake concert – wore the glasses – and Im so happy to report, NO migraine and I was able to enjoy the concert :)”

Take advantage of our 60-day return policy to see if they can help you. Click below to learn more about why they are so effective.


1Queiroz LP, Rapoport AM, Weeks RE, Sheftell FD, Siegel SE, Baskin SM. Characteristics of migraine visual aura. Headache. 1997 Mar 37:137-41.

2Cologno D, Torelli P, Manzoni GC. Transient visual disturbances during migraine without aura attacks. Headache. 2002 Oct 42:930-3.

3Grosberg BM, Solomon S, Lipton RB. Retinal migraine. Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2005 Aug 9:268-71.

4Shepherd A. Visual Stimuli, Light and Lighting are Common Triggers of Migraine and Headache. Journal of Light & Visual Environment. 2010 34:94-100.

5Hay KM, Mortimer MJ, Barker DC, Debney LM, Good PA. 1044 women with migraine: the effect of environmental stimuli. Headache. 1994 Mar 34:166-8.

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Whats The Best Treatment For Light Sensitivity And Eye Pain In Migraine

Unfortunately, theres no magic pill that you can take thats going to take your photophobia away. Most people who experience photophobia during a migraine attack go into a dark room, says Friedman.

Medications used to treat acute attacks often work to treat the photophobia, because the symptom is part of the migraine process, she adds.

Acute medications can include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , triptans, gepants, and ditans. The medication helps the headaches get better faster, and it helps with photophobia as well as other symptoms of migraine, says Friedman.

Preventive treatment of migraine may also help with chronic photophobia, according to the American Migraine Foundation.

When During A Migraine Attack Does Photophobia Typically Occur

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Light sensitivity can begin in a migraine attack even before the head pain starts, says Friedman. Ive had patients tell me that photophobia can be one of their very first symptoms of migraine. All of a sudden, light becomes too bright, and it starts to bother them. Many people notice that noise also becomes too loud they start hearing things they wouldnt normally be able to hear very well, she says.

Even if it doesnt occur that early, the photophobia at least starts when the headache pain begins, says Friedman. For most people the light sensitivity and eye pain persist for the duration of the headache, and some people even have residual photophobia after the head pain ends, she says.

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Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

ADHD is a medical condition that impacts an individuals brain development, affecting a childs attention span and self-control. ADHD affects 9.4% of children in the U.S. Young people with ADHD can experience many symptoms that can impact their lives at home and school. ADHD can result in signs of inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, including:

  • An inability to stay on task or concentrate children with ADHD may daydream for long periods at a time
  • A disposition to frequently lose things
  • Excessive fidgeting and restlessness
  • Frequently doing or taking things without asking for permission.

There is a high prevalence of self-reported photophobia in individuals with ADHD. This is thought to be connected to the processing of dopamine and melatonin in the eyes and brain, though the exact nature of this relationship is uncertain. When ADHD is comorbid with an underlying condition that causes photophobia, the impacts on a childs personal and academic life can be exacerbated.

How To Protect Your Family And Employees From Led Health Risks

LED lighting remains a prevalent choice for now, due to the lower cost and energy usage. But its important to note that many manufacturers keep costs low by using cheap components and harmful engineering tactics, in addition to assembly processes known to lack quality control and structural consistency. The cost: benefit analysis is still underway, as the environmental benefits are offset by the risks to the people, animals, and plants inhabiting the environment.

Its important to protect your coworkers and loved ones from health issues like migraines by creating a barrier against LED and fluorescent lights. Most people cant work outside in natural light all day, or rewire their entire home or office. Instead, they can install natural light filters within minutes, for instant protection!

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Install Flicker Free Lighting

Conventional LED and fluorescent lighting all produce very high amounts of flicker. The way these lights flicker is they have quick fluctuations in brightness which is essentially the light changing between on and off. The reason they are switching themselves on and off at rapid speeds is due to the alternating current power supply, and also to make them energy efficient.

The pulsing flicker that these lights produce is mostly not visible to the human eye due to is rapid speed, but our brains can still pick up and sense this pulsing light. As mentioned earlier the flicker found in all modern lighting is a major cause of migraines, headaches and eye strain.

While using Anti Blue light Glasses and Computer Glasses can help with the management of blue light and green light from LED and fluorescent lighting, they cannot eliminate or mitigate the effects of flicker. A flicker free light bulb is the only solution to avoid this migraine causing type of light.

Fortunately we have created a series of flicker free lighting solutions that has completely eliminated any flicker and blue light. Making it the healthiest type of lighting you can be using to avoid migraines, headaches, eye strain, and sleep disruption.

Fluorescent Cfl Light Bulbs Worst Option For Migraines

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CFLs or fluorescent bulbs are absolutely not recommended for migraine sufferers. They flicker by nature and when they are not operating properly, you can actually see them flicker. In addition to the flickering, their light tends to be more blue.

Fluorescent bulbs should never be considered as an option when it comes to reducing the effects of migraine headaches.

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Lightning On The Brain

Another kind of flashing light may also trigger a pounding head the lightning from a thunderstorm. A 2012 study published in the journal Cephalagia found that patients were about 28 percent more likely to suffer migraines on days when lightning struck near their homes. Though it’s not clear how exactly the lightning strikes could cause throbbing headaches, one possibility is that changes in the charge in the air could disrupt the brain’s electrical waves.

What Causes Strobe Like Vision

When the vitreous gel inside your eye rubs or pulls on the retina, you may see what looks like flashing lights or lightening streaks. You may have experienced this sensation if you have ever been hit in the eye and see stars. These flashes of light can appear off and on for several weeks or months.

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What Does It Mean When You See A Kaleidoscope In Your Vision

Kaleidoscope vision is not a stand-alone condition, but rather a visual symptom of migraines or conditions like a stroke or brain injury. A person experiencing kaleidoscope vision may perceive their visual field to be fractured, vividly colored, or scrambled similar to looking through a kaleidoscope.

Whats The Treatment For Photophobia And How Does It Work

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No medications target photophobia specifically, but finding an effective treatment for your headache disorder could also reduce your sensitivity to light. Research has found eyewear with precision-tinted FL-41 lenses is the most reliableand the only side-effect-freeway to treat photophobia. What Does the Research Say about FL-41?

When worn regularly, precision tinted FL-41 lenses can reduce the frequency of migraine attacks by filtering the light most likely to be a trigger. In a clinical study of the tint, participants experienced 74% fewer migraine attacks per month. Because FL-41 filters the wavelengths that cause the most pain responses for individuals with photophobia, the tinted glasses can provide relief no matter the reason why a person is sensitive to light.

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Migraine Vs Photosensitive Epilepsy

So, I am at a lost, is it a migraine or something else???

I have been suffering from migraines since adolescence and I have become desperate for help. My migraines are usually triggered by stress, certain foods , and visual disturbances . Since I have been able to wean out the specific foods that trigger my migraines and I have been fairly good with regulating my stress, the only thing I CANNOT seem to control are the visual issues I encounter in the environment.

Now, I say I suffer from migraines, because that is what the doctor diagnosed me with. BUT, I have grave concerns that there is something else going on. I am in my late 20s, very active, and I work in a school setting. Every since I was in my early teens, doctors have tried many different medications to help me with my migraines. I have never had any success with medication and the only solution I have found that helps over the past 20 years is to isolate myself from the world for about an hour and pray that it goes away. My first reason why I think I am not having migraines is that I have never found medication that works and I have tried many different brands, types, dosages, and over different time.

Artificial Light From Smartphones And Migraines

Numerous research, including screen time on computers, have examined the factors that dispose of individuals with migraines. Nevertheless, there is limited data on the use of smartphones or tablets, particularly among young adults. Therefore, researchers conducted a cross-sectional study, including 4,927 French college students from the and analyzed self-reported data on screen time exposure and symptoms of headache and migraine. The findings of this study showed that screen time on smartphones was associated with headaches accompanied by nausea or vomiting, and sensitivity to light or sound was classified as migraine. The results from this study also showed that migraine led with visual, sensory or motor instabilities was categorized as a migraine with aura. Hence, we can conclude that smartphones that produce artificial light can cause headaches and migraines in adults.

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Why Do I See Strobing In The Dark

They look like lights or lightning streaks and are usually more noticeable at night or in dark environments. They are usually caused by a pulling of the vitreous gel at the back of the eye. This can be a harmless occurrence, but you should see your optometrist for a check-up to rule out anything more serious.

Additional Steps To Take In Avoid Light Related Migraines

Blue Light Sensitivity, Migraine Glasses, Apps And Covers

When you still experience migraines even after trying the lighting suggestions above, you may want to consider seeking light therapy from a health care specialist. Light-filtering glasses that remove the offending tones and hues are currently under development.

Sunglasses are an effective solution if you want to lower the amount of light entering your cornea and along the pathway mentioned above. You may also want to ask your optical professional about the new FL-41 filter that can be applied to prescription glasses. A trip to the eye doctor can also identify any problems you may have with your eyes or eyesight that could be causing your photophobia and headaches.

In addition to buying new light bulbs to ease your migraine symptoms, consider pursuing treatment options to get rid of your migraines indefinitely.

Contact the National Headache Institute today to learn more about treatment options, or visit our website to find the location nearest you. Along with easing your migraine symptoms, we can help you find long-lasting relief.

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Tips For Managing And Preventing Visual Migraines

If your visual migraine occurs frequently, here are some tips to help you prevent or manage the condition.

  • Acupressure. This is an evidence-based practice of applying pressure with hands to specific points on the body to relieve pain and other symptoms. It can be an effective alternative therapy for migraine headaches.
  • Lavender oil. Lavender oil can be inhaled or applied diluted to the temples to ease your migraine pain.
  • Peppermint oil. According to a 2010 study, the menthol in peppermint oil can minimize migraines.6 The research showed that applying menthol to the forehead and temples relieved migraine-related pain, nausea, and light sensitivity.
  • Yoga. Yoga uses breathing, meditation, and body postures to promote health and well-being, relieving the frequency, duration, and intensity of migraines.
  • Massage therapy. Massage reduces stress and enhances coping skills. It also lowers heart rate, anxiety, and cortisol levels.
  • Herbal supplements. Butterbur and feverfew are common herbal remedies that may aid with migraine pain and frequency reduction.
  • Avoid Triggers. Ocular migraine triggers such as caffeinated foods, alcohol, dehydration, smoking, or stress
  • Unwind at the end of the day. Basic things like listening to soothing music or taking a warm bath after a long day can help your body relax and prevent migraines.

Precision Tinted Glasses For Indoor Use

TheraSpecs are designed specifically for people with the headache disorder by filtering out the wavelengths that produce the most sensitivity. This includes blue wavelengths as well as the pulsing produced by fluorescent lighting. Several studies have shown that the TheraSpecs tint can reduce the frequency of attacks by as much as 74% when compared with other colored lenses, and their indoor glasses are light enough for everyday use.

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How Light Can Trigger Migraine Headaches

If you find that youre experiencing migraines after spending time indoorssuch as at work, at school or even at the grocery storethe lighting could be to blame. Light itself can cause or trigger migraines based on the brightness, intensity, the type of light, and especially if the light flickers. Its estimated that 80-90% of people who suffer from migraines also experience painful sensitivity to lighta symptom known as photophobia. In fact, a survey of more than 4,000 individuals who experience migraines showed that 89% became sensitive to light during an attack. Migraine light sensitivity can produce a wide-range of symptoms that go well-beyond head pain and can linger for hours or even days after the episode.

Why Does Light Sensitivity Sometimes Become Chronic

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Its not clear why light sensitivity can become chronic, says Friedman. There are people who get light sensitivity with migraine, and eventually theyre just more light-sensitive all the time, she says.

We do know that for people in the general population , people with blue eyes or light-colored irises tend to be more light-sensitive, she says.

Although we dont know the exact mechanism, it may be related to the reason people develop chronic migraine, she explains. It seems to be caused by what we call central sensitization that occurs in the brain, says Friedman.

Central sensitization is a condition of the central nervous system that can occur in people with chronic pain conditions the system that mediates the pain becomes sensitized and is in a persistent state of high reactivity. This lowers the threshold for what causes pain, which means it takes less and less of a stimulus to produce a response, explains Friedman.

Thats the same thing we see in the visual system. Over time, it takes less and less light to be bothersome even with a dimmer or less bright light, some people will sometimes get the same response that they get when they have a migraine, she says.

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Types Of Light Which Affect Photophobia

Children with photophobia can be impacted by certain types of lights more than others. There are several factors that determine how lighting affects your eyes.

  • UV radiation can damage your eyes, and different lighting types emit different amounts of this.
  • Flickering lights can be problematic. They can cause discomfort and pain for children with light sensitivity. This affects certain types of lighting more than others.
  • Blue light can also damage your eyes. The concept of digital strain is related to this blue light that is emitted from screens can damage your eyes through excessive exposure. Lighting can have a similar effect, causing eye strain.

With these factors in mind, lets examine three of the most common lighting options and discuss how they impact children with photophobia.

  • Incandescent bulbs, while inexpensive, emit UV radiation and can damage your eyes.
  • Fluorescent lighting, which flickers faster than we can perceive, is commonly reported to cause headaches, migraine episodes, and eyestrain.
  • LED lights do not flicker, which is why they are generally easier on the eyes, particularly for people with photophobia. While they emit more blue light than other lighting options, there are many dimmable LED bulbs that can mitigate this concern.


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