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Do Tinted Glasses Provide Migraine Relief?

Study Suggests Wearing Precision Tinted Lenses Can Ease Migraines in Some Patients

Second Opinion

''The idea of using tinted lenses to reduce migraine and visual discomfort is not a new one," says Kathleen Digre, MD, professor of neurology and ophthalmology at Moran Eye Center at the University of Utah. She reviewed the study findings for WebMD but was not involved in the study.

She and her colleagues offer a filter lens, known as the FL-41, that she has found useful in patients with migraine headaches or other light sensitive conditions.

"It's a tinted lens first used in England and studied in schoolchildren," she says. "Wearing it reduced headaches by half."

The important finding in the new study, she says, is the use of the MRI. "It showed something in the brain changed [with the lenses]," she says, rather than relying only on subjective reports of reduced visual discomfort.

However, she adds, ''We don't know if it improved the headache."

"This is a work in progress," she says. The study needs to be replicated.

Her center adds the FL-41 filter to existing lenses. However, she says, it would be worth a try for migraine sufferers to simply put on sunglasses to reduce visual discomfort.

Robert Daroff, MD, professor of neurology at Case Western University School of Medicine, agrees that sunglasses would be worth a try. "Sunglasses are better than no sunglasses," he says.

The remedy applies to only a small portion of migraine sufferers, says Daroff, who is past president of the American Headache Society. Very few migraine sufferers, he says, have migraine exclusively triggered by visual stimuli.

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