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Can You Have A Migraine Without Light Sensitivity

Customer Reviews Speak Volumes

What happens to your brain during a migraine – Marianne Schwarz

The many positive reviews on both social media andAxon Optics website speak to the effectiveness of the tint and the contacts. One client who purchased the pupil only migraine contact lenses was very happy with the results.

The pupil only contacts provide more coverage than glasses, but they do not cover the outer edges of my peripheral vision. If you are triggered by light , you may consider the fully-tinted contacts.

I have light hazel/green eyes. Upon close inspection in a well-lit area, the tint appears brown with a hint of violet. Practically, it looks like my pupil is just larger, which is unnoticeable unless someone is within arms-reach of me and maintaining eye contact.

I wear these while driving at night with no problems. Objects are still clearly visible, but are not as bright as they otherwise would be. The contacts, I have noticed, also prevent me from being temporarily blinded by other cars headlights.

Another happy customer expressed her gratefulness that the contacts provided 100% coverage from painful light:

I work in an office with fluorescent lights 40 hours a week and I cant adequately express the relief these contacts have given me.

Many have found that they prefer the contacts over the glasses because of the increased coverage. For many, it has been a liberating experience as they feel they are no longer trapped in darkened rooms and they can rejoin the world.

Unique Brain Activity For Migraine Aura & Photophobia

Researchers have identified some unique brain effects related to aura that might explain these variance in light sensitivity and light triggers. One study showed a link between photophobia and elevated levels of a neurotransmitter called calcitonin generelated peptide . This has also been implicated in the broader migraine pathophysiology, but additional evidence suggests that those with migraine aura may have greater CGRP plasma levels. This could ultimately explain their greater risk for feeling light sensitive.8,9

In addition, increased activity in the visual cortex of the brain has been recorded for people with migraine aura versus those without. This cortical hyper-reactivity may underlie prior findings that aura sufferers are more visually sensitive to their surroundingsparticularly between attacksand may explain why light is a more prominent attack trigger.1 If true, this might also mean that different physiological processes affect those who do not have any aura symptoms more specifically, certain pathways that lead to specific visual aura symptomatology may be distinct from those that actually lead to light sensitivity. As a result, this may also endorse more traditional explanations for migraine-related photophobia, especially during attacks, as common to all migraine types.

Whats The Treatment For Migraine Light Sensitivity

Dr. Hosny can choose from several different treatment approaches. Sometimes, he relies on multiple treatments concurrently in a multimodal approach. For migraine light sensitivity, the main course of action often reveals the migraine causes and triggers for your particular case. He may recommend that you wear tinted glasses outdoors and indoors to relieve the discomfort caused by light sensitivity. But the best treatment for light sensitivity involves treating your migraine with:

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Can You Have Light Sensitivity With Tension Headaches

Tension headaches are dull pains accompanied by pressure on the sides and back of the head. The cause of tension headaches is not well-known, but the contraction of skull muscles is a likely cause. Stress is also the number one trigger of tension headaches.

Interestingly, tension-type headaches can cause photophobia in sufferers. This is especially common if the person is exposed to LED, incandescent, or fluorescent light. However, people with tension-type headaches will have less sensitivity compared to those with migraines.

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It may start with tightness in your neck, followed by flashes of light in your vision and a feeling of pins and needles in one of your legs. Finally, the pain starts. Extreme, stomach-churning pain in one side of your head that lasts for a full 24 hours before it finally subsides, leaving you drained and sensitive to light and sound. This is just one illustration of what the disabling neurological condition known as a migraine might feel like to any of the 1 billion migraine sufferers worldwide.

Its more common than asthma and diabetes combined, said Kathleen B. Digre, MD, the chief of the Division of Headache and Neuro-Ophthalmology for University of Utah Health. Its a disease that can affect people across their lifespan. Babies can have migraines. Children can get carsick and have episodic vomiting

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When To Call The Doctor

  • A change in migraine features, how often a migraine happens, or how severe it is
  • A headache that lasts days, getting worse as it goes
  • A headache brought on by coughing, sneezing, bearing down, or straining while on the toilet
  • The worst headache youâve ever had, especially if it started very quickly

Whats A Migraine What Does A Migraine Feel Like

A migraine is a common neurological disease that causes a variety of symptoms, most notably a throbbing, pulsing headache on one side of your head. Your migraine will likely get worse with physical activity, lights, sounds or smells. It may last at least four hours or even days. About 12% of Americans have this genetic disorder. Research shows that its the sixth most disabling disease in the world.

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Dealing With Constant Light Sensitivity

I had been diagnosed with migraine only several months prior but had dealt with attacks throughout my life. The attacks had started to bleed together and I was never completely free of symptoms. I was seeing a headache specialist regularly, trying new treatments and strategies, but the light sensitivity was constant.

Some situations just called for the socially awkward choice of wearing shades indoors. I was often asked if I was hungover, even though I didnt dare touch alcohol for fear of worsening symptoms.

Where It All Gets A Little Complicated


It is important to note that these differences are not clear cut. Doctors and patients often have a difficult time distinguishing between the timing of symptoms before an attack. Not only can patient recall and tracking be an unreliable measure, but we still do not know enough about the biological processes that lead to migraine and aura. This makes it a challenge to fully understand if certain symptoms are actually representative of the stage in which they are believed to occur. For example, some experts believe that sensitivity to light at any point prior to the onset of headache pain actually signals the earliest moments of the attack phasenot the prodrome or aura as we might expect.


1Cucchiara B, Datta R, Aguirre GK, Idoko KE, Detre J.Measurement of visual sensitivity in migraine: Validation of two scales and correlation with visual cortex activation. Cephalalgia. 2015 Jun 35:585-92. doi: 10.1177/0333102414547782. Epub 2014 Sep 3.

2Vanagaite J, Pareja JA, Støren O, White LR, Sand T, Stovner LJ. Light-induced discomfort and pain in migraine. Cephalalgia. 1997 Nov 17:733-41.

3Rasmussen BK, Olesen J. Migraine with aura and migraine without aura: an epidemiological study. Cephalalgia. 1992 Aug 12:221-8 discussion 186.

4Hayne DP, Martin PR. Relating Photophobia, Visual Aura, and Visual Triggers of Headache and Migraine. Headache. 2019 Mar 59:430-442. doi: 10.1111/head.13486. Epub 2019 Feb 8.

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Triggers For Vestibular Migraine

These triggers dont all apply to everyone who gets vestibular migraines. There may be only a few things on this list that affect you. Triggers tend to have a genetic component, so if there are other people in your family who suffer from migraines, ask if they know what triggers apply to them.

Triggers are also cumulative: any one of these alone may not give you a migraine, but 2 or 3 at the same time can be a problem. This inconsistency can make it harder to figure out what affects you. Small quantities may be okay. Test foods with caution over time to see what affects you.

Is There Anything I Shouldnt Do

Yes! Although people with light sensitive vision might be tempted to wear sunglasses indoors, this can actually make your symptoms worse.1 While it may feel like an initial relief, wearing dark glasses indoors over time can cause dark-adaptation of your retina, which aggravates sensitivity to light.1

Think of dark adapting your eyes this way: when coming out of a movie during the day, what happens? Your eyes are ultra sensitive to the bright sunshine. Even if you dont have light sensitive vision, this can cause discomfort because your eyes have adjusted to the darker conditions. Wearing sunglasses inside has a similar effect.

So instead of wearing sunglasses indoors, use light-filtering lenses that are specifically intended for indoor use. They can give you relief without dark-adapting your eyes.

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What Is Alice In Wonderland Syndrome

This is a rare form of migraine aura that causes distortions in perception. Someone with this condition might feel as if her body is getting smaller, then larger, or might find that time seems to speed up or slow down. Children experience this syndrome more than adults, but it can occur in people of any age.

Migraine Contact Lenses: Colorful Contacts For Light Sensitivity And Migraine Relief

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There was a time when therapeutic tinted lenses for light sensitivity were only available as glasses. Thanks to exciting developments at Axon Optics, that is no longer the case. Migraine contact lenses are available through the Axon Optics website and the positive testimonials are pouring in as customers say they bring much needed relief to both migraineurs and those suffering from light sensitivity.

Thesesoft contacts are available with no vision correction or basic vision correction and they last a whopping 365 days before replacement! If you have an astigmatism, dont worry, Toric lenses are also available and they too have the same great therapeutic tint. Each pair is custom made to fit its owner.

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Why Does Light Sensitivity Sometimes Become Chronic

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.

How Can A Person With Migraine Become More Tolerant Of Light

Typically, for people who have been living in the dark, well try to move them into the light gradually, says Friedman. So we gradually lighten up the tint in their glasses if theyve been using glasses and gradually turn up the lights, she says.

In addition to increasing light tolerance and utilizing tools to help minimize the negative impacts of light, its important to get migraine attacks under control, says Friedman.

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What Symptoms Must You Have To Be Diagnosed With A Migraine

Migraine with aura . This is a headache, plus:

  • Visual symptoms or vision loss.
  • Sensory symptoms .

Migraine without aura . A common migraine is a headache and:

  • The attacks included pain on one side of your head.
  • Youve had at least five attacks, each lasting between four and 72 hours.

Plus, youve experienced at least one of the following:

  • Nausea and/or vomiting.
  • Lights bother you and/or you avoid light.
  • Sounds bother you and/or you avoid sounds.

Treatment For Aura Without Headache

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Treating migraine aura without headache can be difficult. Since many medications take longer to work than auras duration, some people dont take any as-needed medication. Others, however, may find that associated symptoms like nausea and sensitivity to light and sound will improve if treated.

There are not a lot of tested medications for this type of migraine. Some medications have been tried, but there arent any good, large studies to guide them. There is nothing with FDA approval in this indication, and the condition is managed on a case-by-case basis.. Some smaller studies and case reports suggest the use of magnesium, aspirin and lamotrigine. For people with prolonged aura, there have been some treatment attempts with intranasal ketamine. These, however, are small studies, and this is very much an off-label use.

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What Happens During The Headache Phase

The headache phase is characterized by a moderate to severe headache. It may throb or be a pressure-like pain and is often, but not always, on one side of the head. Pain may begin around the eye or temple, sometimes feeling like sinus pressure, but then spreads across the head as the attack intensifies and other symptoms, such as light and sound sensitivity or nausea, escalate. Alternatively, the pain may begin in the neck, and spread forward to the head.

Common symptoms of the headache phase of migraine include:

  • Sharp, throbbing, drilling, burning, or pressure-like pain in the head, face, or sinuses
  • Mood changes like depression or euphoria

What Medications Are Used To Relieve Migraine Pain

Over-the-counter medications are effective for some people with mild to moderate migraines. The main ingredients in pain relieving medications are ibuprofen, aspirin, acetaminophen, naproxen and caffeine.

Three over-the-counter products approved by the Food and Drug Administration for migraine headaches are:

  • Excedrin® Migraine.
  • Advil® Migraine.
  • Motrin® Migraine Pain.

Be cautious when taking over-the-counter pain relieving medications. Sometimes overusing them can cause analgesic-rebound headaches or a dependency problem. If you’re taking any over-the-counter pain medications more than two to three times a week, report that to your healthcare provider. They may suggest prescription medications that may be more effective.

Prescription drugs for migraine headaches include:

Triptan class of drugs :

  • Sumatriptan.
  • Butterbur.
  • Co-enzyme Q10.

Drugs to relieve migraine pain come in a variety of formulations including pills, tablets, injections, suppositories and nasal sprays. You and your healthcare provider will discuss the specific medication, combination of medications and formulations to best meet your unique headache pain.

Drugs to relieve nausea are also prescribed, if needed.

All medications should be used under the direction of a headache specialist or healthcare provider familiar with migraine therapy. As with any medication, it’s important to carefully follow the label instructions and your healthcare providers advice.

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Who Gets Aura Without Head Pain

Migraine aura without pain or silent migraine is fairly unusual. Only 4 out of every 100 people who get migraines have aura without pain and no other kind of migraine. However, 40 percent of people who have migraine with aura will have only aura symptoms and no pain at some point in their life.2

Migraine aura without pain is more common in women than men and tends to begin later in life. When it begins after age 60 it is called late-onset migraine accompaniment.2

Whats A Migraine Journal

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  • Keeping a migraine journal is not only beneficial to you, but it helps your healthcare provider with the diagnosis process. Your journal should be detailed and updated as much as possible before, during and after a migraine attack. Consider keeping track of the following:
  • The date and time of when the migraine began specifically when the prodrome started, if youre able to tell its happening. Track time passing. When did the aura phase begin? The headache? The postdrome? Do your best to tell what stage youre in and how long it lasts. If theres a pattern, that may help you anticipate what will happen in the future.
  • What are your symptoms? Be specific.
  • Note how many hours of sleep you got the night before it happened and your stress level. Whats causing your stress?
  • Note the weather.
  • Log your food and water intake. Did you eat something that triggered the migraine? Did you miss a meal?
  • Describe the type of pain and rate it on a one to 10 scale with 10 being the worst pain youve ever experienced.
  • Where is the pain located? One side of your head? Your jaw? Your eye?
  • List all of the medications you took. This includes any daily prescriptions, any supplements and any pain medication you took.
  • How did you try to treat your migraine, and did it work? What medicine did you take, at what dosage, at what time?
  • Consider other triggers. Maybe you played basketball in the sunlight? Maybe you watched a movie that had flashing lights? If youre a woman, are you on your period?

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Could You Have A Migraine Without Even Knowing

Migraine headaches are very painful and can knock people out for hours and even days. But did you know you can have a migraine without having a headache?

Silent migraines are a real thing. And you might suffer from them without even knowing.

What is a silent migraine?

A normal migraine usually starts out with any number of visual or sensory symptoms, called aura. These include blurred or lost vision, sensitivity to light, dizziness, weakness and nausea. Typically, these symptoms subside and are followed by a headache trademarked by sharp pain around the temples.

A silent migraine brings these symptoms and more but no headache. They typically last from a few minutes up to an hour. The effects can leave sufferers feeling tired and out of it all day. While some people have chronic migraines that last for days, weeks or months, thats not usually the case for silent migraines.

How is it caused?

The reasons why they strike arent totally known. Sensory overload from too much light or noise, as well as changes in the brains blood vessels and chemical makeup, could be culprits.

However, we do know silent migraines are triggered by what we put in our bodies and factors from the world around us. Women, people under 40 and those who have a family history of migraines are all susceptible.

Treatment options and what to watch for

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