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Light hurts: How to use glasses to help with photophobia


What is photophobia?

Photophobia is a very strong sensitivity to light and is common in migraine.  Migraine photophobia can precede (and potentially trigger) a headache. However, it can also occur during a headache or between headaches. 

Is photophobia only linked to migraine? 

No! many eye problems can be associated with photophobia. If you recently started having photophobia and eye pain you should definitely seek for medical advice. 

What type of light are people with migraine most sensitive to? 

Blue spectrum light has been identified as the type of light that most people with migraine react to.  This light is in sunlight; indoor light (fluorescent, compact fluorescent, and LED); and displays on smart phones and computers.  Wearing polarized sunglasses outside can minimize discomfort from sunlight. However, even though it’s tempting to wear sunglasses inside, this might actually make a person more light sensitive over time.   

Can special indoor lenses help with photophobia?

Sometimes ophthalmologists, optometrists and other health providers prescribe tinted lenses or “filters” to help people with a variety of health problems cope with indoor glare.  These filters are designed to block the amount of light coming into the eye and/or block certain light wavelengths. Filters come in different forms. Sometimes they are separate eyeglasses with coloured lenses that fit over a person’s existing eyeglasses.  These are called “fit-overs”. Sometimes prescription eyeglass lenses are custom tinted or a special filter coating is directly applied to the lens surface. Gray, green, and brown filters are commonly used to reduce glare. For people with low vision and glare problems, yellow, red, and orange filters are often used. 

Could it be that my eyes are dry? 

People with migraine tend to have more problems with dry eyes or symptoms that could evoke dry eyes. Dry eyes can contribute to blurry vision and to photophobia. Trying simple hydrating eye drops could help. Discuss this with your optometrist or ophthalmologist.

What about FL-41 lenses?

The rose-coloured FL-41 tint was first developed to decrease eye discomfort under fluorescent lights.  In an early study, children experienced less migraines when they wore FL-41 lenses. Researchers have proposed that photophobia in migraine results from a series of complicated interactions between the eyes and brain.   Special IPRGC cells in the retina are activated by blue light waves at a very specific frequency. It is believed that FL-41 filters reduce photophobia (and in some cases migraine) by preventing this specific frequency of light from reaching the eye.  

Where can I find FL-41 tinted glasses?

FL-41 tints can be applied to any existing plastic prescription lens, provided there is no other coating on the lens.  They can also be incorporated into a new prescription lens, applied to a non-prescription (or “plano” lens), or produced as non-prescription fit-overs.  

Designed for Maximum Relief

TheraSpecs® are therapeutic blue light glasses that filter out the harmful light that triggers migraines, headaches, eyestrain, and other conditions.
Learn More ➜

Research proves that TheraSpecs:

  • Reduce headache and migraine frequency and intensity
  • Relieve painful light sensitivity and glare
  • Protect you from fluorescent lighting

Why Our Lenses Are Better

Not all blue light is equal. Studies have shown light around 480nm is the most likely to cause pain and trigger symptoms in light-sensitive conditions like migraine and post-concussion syndrome.1 TheraSpecs filter up to 25 times more of these problematic wavelengths than other typical blue light glasses to provide more protection and better relief for people with light sensitivity.2TheraSpecs Indoor Glasses

TheraSpecs Indoor Glasses

Filter nearly 80% of blue light at 480nm

How Other Glasses Compare

Clear Blue Light Glasses

Clear Blue Light Glasses

Filter less than 10%Yellow Computer Glasses

Yellow Computer Glasses

Filter less than 20%Competitor FL-41 Glasses

Competitor FL-41 Glasses

Filter less than 50%

1Tatsumoto M, Eda T, Ishikawa T, et al. “Light of Intrinsically Photosensitive Retinal Ganglion Cell (ipRGC) Causing Migraine Headache Exacerbation.” IHC symposium OR3. June 2013. 2Visible light transmission by wavelength measured using f.luxometer software

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Light doesn’t have to hurt

Sunlight and artificial light, including fluorescent lights, LEDs, and computer and device screens, can trigger migraines, worsen headaches, and cause photophobia, eye pain, and fatigue. With TheraSpecs, you can experience fast and effective relief, because our carefully crafted eyewear filters the light that can trigger or worsen such symptoms.

Woman wearing indoor TheraSpecs, Quinn frame, to protect from fluorescent and screen light sensitivity.

Reduce migraines without
drug side-effects

When worn regularly, our glasses provide natural migraine relief and reduce the frequency of migraines for many. In fact, a clinical study of the TheraSpecs tint showed that participants experienced 74 percent fewer attacks per month. But TheraSpecs are so much more than migraine glasses; they also decrease photophobia and relieve headaches and eye pain worsened by natural and artificial light, including device screens and fluorescent light sensitivity.

Woman wearing indoor TheraSpecs, Audrey frame, to reduce her migraine attacks and photophobia

Wear your relief, wherever
you are

Wearing sunglasses inside can worsen light sensitivity over time. Indoor TheraSpecs block only the problematic light, so our lenses are lighter and provide better long-term relief against fluorescents and computer and mobile device screens. We also have outdoor lenses that are darker, polarized and 100% UVA/UVB to combat bright sunlight.

Man wearing outdoor TheraSpecs sunglasses, Classic frame, for light sensitivity relief

What our customers are saying

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I’m wearing my glasses when I’m at the computer & love them! They have made such a difference for the blue glare. Worth it!quotation mark

These glasses have really helped my headaches! I’m amazed! Thanks!!!!quotation mark

The glasses are simply amazing, I felt a huge difference within minutes, I am telling anyone I know who lives with migraines about your amazing product.

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