Migraine & light sensitivity information

The Link Between Migraine and Light

Migraine affects approximately one in seven people, with 80% of those identifying that light sensitivity is closely linked to their condition.¹

While perhaps half that number have light as a major trigger, light is a major consideration for all those who are prone to Migraine.

This suggests that a large proportion of Migraine headache sufferers should proactively protect themselves from the types of light that may trigger an attack, or cause pain and the elongation of one.

Flickering, flashing, bright, sunny environments, fluorescent or LED lighting and use of digital screens are all seemingly unavoidable situations of everyday life. However, these are sources which can be highly sensitive.

Instead of reaching for medication or retreating into a darkened room, many people can find prevention and relief in light blocking Migraine glasses.

What the Research Says

Early research focused on the effect of light at the blue end of the spectrum on photophobia, finding provable links between exposure to blue light, as found in sunlight but also in artificial light sources and LED screens, and Migraine.²

However, the most recent in-depth clinical research in this area, identifies that red light wavelengths are also responsible for triggering Migraine and heightening sensitivity to light.

Clinical research specialists at Kings College Hospital, London further identified the specific blue and red light wavelengths that causes sensitivity in people with Migraine and tension-type headaches.³

Dr Burstein’s research team at Harvard University also found that a green lens not only significantly reduced photophobia but also reduced headache intensity.⁴


¹ Giffin NJ, Lipton RB, Silberstein SD, Olesen J, Goadsby PJ. The migraine postdrome: An electronic diary study. Neurology. 2016;87(3):309-313. doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000002789

² Headache Classification Committee of the International Headache Society, 1988, Classification and diagnostic criteria for headache disorders, cranial neuralgias and facial pain, Cephalalgia, 8, supplement 7, S19-S28

³ Maine A, Vlachonikolis I, Dowson A. The wavelength of light causing photophobia in migraine sufferers and tension-type headache between attacks, headache 2000, 40, 194-199

⁴ Noseda R et al, Green light alleviates Migraine photophobia. Neurology 2017;88:(16 supplement)