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Does Blue Light Cause Migraines

Do You Have The Following Symptoms

Blue Light Sensitivity, Migraine Glasses, Apps And Covers
  • Insomnia/sleep issues. If you often find yourself checking emails at bedtime, you could be significantly harming the quality of your sleep. Between general sleeplessness and full-blown insomnia, prolonged blue light exposure disrupts our circadian rhythms. It actually works by tricking our brain into thinking its daytime when in fact youre tucked up in bed.
  • Headaches and migraines. The most common symptom of digital eye strain caused by blue light sensitivity. Various research has suggested that there is a specific neural pathway from the eyes to the brain which is not to do with how vision is transmitted. Ultimately, the research has led scientists to believe that blue light wavelengths have too much energy for our eyes to deal with. We look at all this in greater detail in our What is blue light blog, so take a look!
  • Fatigue. Directly related to the potential sleep problems, fatigue is a common symptom of problems caused by blue light sensitivity.
  • Inability to focus. Everyone has difficulty concentrating with a raging headache, so its the same for the kinds of headaches caused by blue light.
  • Dry eyes. Prolonged screen exposure causes eye strain which then causes an imbalance in your eyes. If you have astigmatism, this makes it significantly worse as one eye will work harder than the other. All this means youll blink less frequently and produce less moisture.

How Does The Color Of Lighting Contribute To A Migraine

Scientists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston also found that a narrow band of green light may actually alleviate migraine pain by 20 percent and significantly reduce headaches and sensitivity to light episodes.

In addition, lights with a blue hue tend to worsen migraines and other types of headaches. While warm colors like red and orange have a low wavelength on the visible light spectrum, cool colors like blue and purple have a shorter, more frequent wavelength which can be harsher on the eyes. Some researchers theorize that a specific neural pathway from the eyes to the brain negatively responds to the presence of these blue wavelengths, which causes headaches or makes existing symptoms worse.

The Boston study revealed that green light therapy for migraines may provide migraine relief. The research indicates that decoding green light requires less work from both your eyes and your brain. Green lighting created smaller electrical signals between the eye and the brain during this study and required less strain from the brain to decode once it reached its destination.

The findings in the study dont exactly mean that you need to run out and buy green light bulbs for every room. If you struggle with migraines, however, experimenting with the colors and intensities of light in your home may reduce the frequency and severity of your headaches.

Flashing Lights And Auras

It has been known for years that flashing, bright lights, such as those from a strobe light, can cause seizures. For individuals who arent prone to seizures, the result may be an intense migraine. When headaches are severe, many people report seeing auras or halos around certain objects. Others may see wavy lines that seem to move with whatever is being focused upon.

All of these reactions involve how light is perceived in the brain when a person is experiencing a migraine or other type of chronic headache.

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It Can Take Less Than 10 Minutes Of Sunlight Exposure To Develop A Headache

The intensity of bright days has been known to trigger headaches for a person who is light sensitive, but experts discovered that it may literally take just a few minutes to bring about pain. More accurately, 5 to 10 minutes is all that may be necessary before the onset of a sun-induced headache, with particular potency being recorded during summer months.

Or Retain Water Instead

Does artificial blue light cause migraines?

On the flip side, because cheese is high in sodium, Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN registered dietitian and founder of Real Nutrition, says it can also cause people who are salt-sensitive to retain water. Thats why individuals on low-sodium diets, like those with heart disease or high cholesterol, are often told to limit or avoid cheese.

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How To Get Rid Of Blue Light Headache And The Health Effects Of Blue Light

The issue with artificial blue light is that there is a myriad of ways it can be affecting your vulnerability to chronic migraine attacks. Suffering from migraines is not only uncomfortable due to the accompanying chronic pain, but it can also affect your ability to lead a normal happy life.

It is particularly common for those who experience headache disorders to not be able to work, and have to migrate to a dark bedroom away from bright light until the headache pain or migraine subsides.

This is not ideal for most human beings who also have many duties and responsibilities such as kids, and work!

Unfortunately, despite headache disorders being so common – there is no cure. However, there are recommendations and lifestyle changes that you can make which can minimize your risk of getting a migraine attack.

The usual protocol is the take over-the-counter medication, or embark on lifestyle changes to reduce your possible triggers.

However, migraine medication isnt necessarily a fool-proof long-term answer, and its certainly not ideal for those who experience nausea and sickness with the onset of a chronic headache!

But by eliminating over-exposure to blue light – you can reduce your environmental and biological risks which contribute to headaches and migraine pain.

Research shows that over-exposure to blue light can affect melatonin levels, and whilst this may not seem initially relevant to headaches – it surprisingly is.

Blue Light Can Negatively Affect Your Sleep

Artificial light has long been connected to disruption in sleeping patterns, so it should not be surprising that blue light is one of the prime culprits. More specifically, people who view a significant amount of these wavelengths in the evening hours are inhibiting the production of a hormone called melatonin, which regulates our desire for sleep. Looking at your mobile device for an extended period of time before bed has been shown to elicit greater drowsiness, lower energy and alertness the next day.7-8

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Can Blue Light Trigger Headaches

Ever find after a busy day at the office, youve got a dull ache around your head and eyes? Or maybe its only when you lie down to go to sleep you realise your temples are actually throbbing. Its certainly not uncommon to experience the occasional headache or wave of fatigue given the insanely busy lifestyles most of us lead. But an ongoing pain could be a symptom of a bigger issue … digital eye strain, caused by overexposure to artificial blue light. DES refers to a whole host of not-so-pleasant sounding symptoms, all associated with excessive screen time. Think fatigue, insomnia, irritability and yep – an achey head. Its all because of the light our little screen friends give off

Were all guilty of screen time, whether its during our 9-5 in the office, absent-mindedly scrolling through Facebook while watching Game of Thrones on our smart TV, or having one last look at Instagram while lying in bed. Its not surprising that cumulatively, this could lead to a pain in the head. One way to mitigate the effects of blue light though is to wear a special kind of lens in your glasses. Ambr offer a whole range of frames for all ages, in a host of colours and styles – discover more about us here, or to read some great reviews of our products.

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About Dr Donald Mccormack

Blue Light Glasses Cured My Headache

As an ophthalmologist, Dr. McCormack diagnoses and treats all eye diseases, prescribes eyeglasses and contact lenses to correct vision problems, and performs a wide range of clinical procedures and more complicated eye surgeries. He has special interests in treatments for dry eyes and glaucoma and has been a principal investigator in numerous clinical research trials for these conditions.

  • For an appointment, call

This article is not intended to substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician.

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Why Light Worsens Migraine Headaches

Blind Patients Help Scientists Understand the Link Between Light and Headaches

The culprit, they say, is a new pathway that underlies sensitivity to light during migraine episodes in blind people and people with normal eyesight. Scientists at Beth Deaconess Medical Center report their findings in the online journal Nature Neuroscience.

Migraines, which afflict more than 30 million people in the United States, are painful headaches for which sufferers often seek relief by going into dark rooms. Migraines are believed to develop when the system of membranes surrounding the brain and central nervous system, called the meninges, becomes irritated.

That stimulates pain receptors and triggers a series of events that lead to prolonged activation of groups of sensory neurons, the scientists report.

âThis explains the throbbing headache and accompanying scalp and neck-muscle tenderness experienced by many migraine patients,â says Rami Burstein, PhD, professor of anesthesia and critical care at Beth Israel and Harvard Medical School.

Migraines cause one-sided, throbbing pain, and have been called âsick headachesâ because they have long been associated with vomiting, nausea, irritability, and fatigue.

People with migraines also are also typically aggravated by light with worsening of symptoms compared to being in the dark. This causes many migraine sufferers to wear sunglasses, often at night, Burstein says.

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    • Bridge: 19 millimeters
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    Blue Light And Ocular Migraines:

    Retinal migraine is an eye disease that causes vision loss or vision disturbances in one eye, such as lights flashing. These incidents can be scary, but theyre generally harmless and brief, and the vision returns to normal later.

    A minor blind spot that impacts the field of vision in one eye is one of the most common ocular migraine symptoms. When the blind spot grows more prominent, it becomes difficult to drive or read comfortably with the impaired eye.

    One eyes entire field of vision can be impaired sometimes. In most cases, the episode is under an hour long.

    While the duration of retinal migraines varies, a few people have them every few months.

    Retinal migraine is a distinct disorder that can not be associated with headache-type migraine or migraine with aura, both of which impair both eyes vision.

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    How Can You Reduce Blue Light Exposure

    Blue Light Headache Symptoms

    The last thing you want to do is shut yourself in the dark because that can have physical and emotional consequences, so what are you options? Here are some ways that you can minimize the damaging effects of blue light:

    • Try “blue blocker” or blue-light filtering glasses, but dont settle for cheap knock offs. TheraSpecs are a great brand, particularly if you already have migraine or another light-sensitive condition.
    • Use “night mode” or similar apps that are native settings on your phone and your computer. This can warm the lighting on your device and make it easier on the eyes.
    • Turn your phone or computer off at least 2-3 hours before you go to bed.
    • Change your light bulbs to warmer tones and colors. Opt for more natural light if possible and avoid/remove fluorescents, if appropriate.
    • Give your eyes a break. Look away from your screen at least once every 20 minutes to let your eyes reset. And dont forget to blink!


    1Noseda R, Bernstein CA, Nir R-R, et al. Migraine photophobia originating in cone-driven retinal pathways. Brain. 2016 139:1971-1986. doi:10.1093/brain/aww119.

    2Main A, Vlachonikolis I, Dowson A. The wavelength of light causing photophobia in migraine and tension-type headache between attacks. Headache. 2000 Mar 40:194-9.

    3M. Tatsumoto, T. Eda, T. Ishikawa, M. Ayama, K. Hirata. Light of Intrinsically Photosensitive Retinal Ganglion Cell Causing Migraine Headache Exacerbation. IHC symposium OR3. 2013 June.

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    Fluorescent Lights Have Been Shown To Double The Number Of Headaches Experienced By Office Workers

    Fluorescent lighting has been pegged by some as one of the worst inventions for humankind. This of course is an exaggeration as there are countless benefits of fluorescent lights too, but we cannot deny the health issues that can arise from fluorescent exposure. Not only can it bring about eye strain and other pain, but researchers found that it doubled instances of headaches among people in an office environment. Brightness, prevalence of blue light, and the invisible flickering are some of the reasons why it has debilitating effects on those with sensory sensitivities.

    Giving The ‘green Light’ To Migraine Relief

    Experimental light therapy finds it can ease sensitivity, pain for some patients

    HealthDay Reporter

    TUESDAY, May 17, 2016 — A new study sheds light — literally — on a potential means of easing migraine pain.

    Researchers in Boston exposed 69 migraine patients to different colors of light. They found that while blue light exacerbated headache pain, a narrow spectrum of low-intensity green light significantly reduced light sensitivity.

    In some cases, this green light also reduced migraine pain by about 20 percent, the researchers found.

    They noted that migraine headache affects nearly 15 percent of people worldwide, and a frequent symptom of migraine is light sensitivity, also known as photophobia.

    “Although photophobia is not usually as incapacitating as headache pain itself, the inability to endure light can be disabling,” study author Rami Burstein, of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, said in a medical center news release.

    “More than 80 percent of migraine attacks are associated with and exacerbated by light sensitivity, leading many migraine sufferers to seek the comfort of darkness and isolate themselves from work, family and everyday activities,” he added. Burstein directs the medical center’s Comprehensive Headache Center.

    Two experts said the treatment may have merit.

    He pointed out that “light therapy has been used successfully in other conditions such as certain dermatologic issues and seasonal affective disorder .”

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    Can Blue Light Cause Headaches

    As you must know, digital eye strain implies many symptoms linked to using digital tools for too long. Symptoms could be:

    • sensitivity to light
    • tired or sore eyes
    • shoulder pain

    Tablets, computer screens, cell phones, and laptops can be the reason for digital eye strain. However, each of these devices releases blue light. The link has led researchers to examine if it is only the blue light that is the reason for digital eye tension. Until yet, there is not sufficient research to determine that the light color points to DES symptoms. However, experts think the real reason is a whole day of demanding work, instead of only the blue light emanating from those screens.

    Calibration And Quantification Of Photic Stimulation

    Migraine and Headache relieving Sunglasses by Migralens – UV, Blue light, and Red light filtering.

    Repeated calibrations of our ColorDome with the international light technologies photometer and an Ocean Optics Maya LSL spectrometer were used to verify that the different colours of light were delivered at equal luminance. For example, when the nominal luminance was set at 3 cd·m2in the Espion software , the measured luminance for blue, green, amber and red was 2.96, 3.0, 3.36, 2.76 cd·m2, respectively. To ensure that each of these colours appeared to be exactly the same luminance to our participants , our ColorDome delivered different power with each photic stimulus. When the measured luminance for blue, green, amber and red was 2.96, 3.0, 3.36, 2.76 cd·m2, the respective power was 32.2, 1.9, 2.1, and 4.9 µW/cm2/nM.

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    Can Blue Cheese Cause Headaches

    Blood pressure rises when blood vessels narrow, causing headaches and migraines. Cheddar, Swiss, Muenster, blue cheese, English Stilton, Gorgonzola, feta, and Brie are the most common cheeses linked to migraines.

    What Cheeses Cause Migraines? If you get a headache after eating cheese, its probably an aged variety like Swiss, Parmesan, Brie, or cheddar. Tyramine, a natural substance found in various foods, is abundant in aged cheeses. Tyramine constricts and dilates blood vessels, which can produce headaches.

    Is Blue Cheese Bad For Migraines? Tyramine, a chemical formed when the proteins in cheese break down over time, could be the culprit. The amount of tyramine in a cheese increases as it ages. Blue cheese, Swiss, cheddar, Gouda, and Parmesan are some of the cheeses you might wish to avoid on a migraine diet to avoid migraines.

    How Do You Get Rid Of A Cheese Headache? Natural Headache Relief: 18 Home Remedies Drink plenty of water. You can get a headache if you dont drink enough water. Take a magnesium supplement. Consume alcohol in moderation. Make sure you get enough sleep. Foods High in Histamine Should Be Avoided. Make use of essential oils. Consider taking a B-Complex vitamin. Use a cold compress to relieve pain.


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