Could Tinted Glasses Be the Newest Migraine Treatment?

February 14, 2012

Johnny Depp has been spotted around London, Paris and Los Angeles sporting a pair of glasses with vibrant blue lenses. While the cool blue hue just may be Depp’s way of making a fashion statement, researchers are now finding that color-tinted lenses may be an effective migraine treatment.

Sensitivity to light is one of the big triggers for many migraine sufferers. Finding a new way to combat a migraine drug free is sure to be an exciting prospect for individuals who can suddenly find themselves in the painful throes of a migraine by simply looking at stripes on someone’s shirt, the moving lines of an escalator, sunlight filtered through trees or the subtle flickering of a computer screen.

These changes in light and contrast often cause visual over-stimulation in the brain, which can trigger a migraine.

A study by the University of Michigan published in Cephalalgia, the journal of the International Headache Society, showed hyperactivity in the visual part of the brain when migraine sufferers saw patterns such as stripes or highly-contrast colors. When migraine sufferers wore color-tinted glasses that subdued the patterns and contrast, nearly 70 percent reported significant relief. Although the reasons why this migraine treatment seems to work are just now being investigated, one theory is that colored lenses redistribute the focus and intensity of light — spreading out so it is less jarring to the brain. Researchers have also found that different migraine sufferers respond to different tint colors — blue, rose and amber are among the most effective. In addition to being a possible new way to combat a migraine drug fee, colored lenses are also being used to help people with epilepsy and dyslexia.

Only time and additional research will tell if the future for this new migraine treatment is as rosy as it seems.

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