Woman with a headache

Facts About Migraines

The Migraine Research Foundation provides the following facts regarding migraines:

  • A migraine is the 6th most disabling illness in the world.
  • More than 4 million people have chronic daily attacks.
  • Migraine attacks usually last between 4 and 72 hours.
  • Healthcare and productivity costs associated with migraine attacks are estimated to be as high as $36 billion annually in the United States.
  • More than just headaches, migraine attacks are often accompanied by one or more of the following: visual disturbances, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, extreme sensitivity to sound, light, touch, and smell, and tingling or numbness in the extremities or face.

The answer to whether or not a tinted lens helps migraine sufferers is not a simple one. No one solution fits everyone. However, research suggests that tinted lenses do bring relief to many.

Light Sensitivity as a Trigger

Migraine triggers vary from one person to the next. Also, one person usually has multiple stimuli, from foods and hormones to environmental factors and stress. However, according to American Migraine Foundation, the Top Migraine Triggers, light sensitivity is a common trigger. Light impacts some migraine sufferers severely, some sporadically and some not at all.

Wearing sunglasses can help with light sensitivity

While light sensitivity varies from person to person, some stimuli appear more frequently. These include pattern glare, bright lights, and fluorescent bulbs. Pattern glare causes visual stress from looking at various light patterns. Bright light such as sunlight and fluorescent lighting are also usual culprits since they give off dangerous light wavelengths.


“Light sensitivity creates an unpredictable trigger for migraine sufferers that can pounce without any warning, depending on the situation and circumstances. When aware that they are sensitive to light, sufferers often become anxious or fearful when they know a given situation could lead to an attack.” (Can Tinted Glasses Provide Migraine Relief? By the Migraine Relief Center)

While they may not entirely relieve or prevent migraines, eyeglass tints blocking specific wavelengths appear to help many sufferers.

Lens Tints & Migraine Relief

A study in the 1990s of twenty children diagnosed with a migraine resulted in fewer headaches for those wearing tinted glasses. Precision tints reduced visual stress by 70%, and gray or other colors reduced it by 40%. (Can Tinted Glasses... Migraine Relief Center)

“Many people struggle with visual disturbances on a daily basis. Whether it is light sensitivity, reading problems… color helps many of these patients live a normal life. The use of color through filters and/or lenses should be considered for those who are struggling from visual disabilities. A single color can be the difference in chancing someone’s life for the better.” (Relieve migraines with tinted contact lenses by Optometry Times)

Precision-tinted lenses known as the FL-41 tint are the most supported by research. However, many migraine sufferers also find relief through general sunglasses as well.

If you suffer from light-related headaches, it’s worth experimenting with tinted lenses. The most straightforward approach involves trying out eyewear with different tints that still allow you to see well indoors. Many people find rose tints work best, but others have found relief wearing brown tints.

Tips for Finding the Right Lens Tint

Finding the right lens tint for relief from light sensitivity can be time-consuming. However, the relief received is well worth the effort. With that in mind, consider the following tips to help discover the right lens tint to relieve your migraine headaches.

Certain lens tints may provide migraine relief

  1. Be willing to experiment. Some people find significant relief after trying just a couple of lenses.
  2. Talk to your eye care specialist. An ophthalmologist can help identify additional triggers and make suggestions regarding lens tint.
  3. Check with your physician too. Especially if you’re struggling to find the right solution, your doctor can provide valuable input.
  4. Analyze your situation. Take some time to answer the question, “How do you choose the best lens tint?
  5. Check out D.B.’s story. After taking this process to its limits, D.B. finally found significant relief from regular migraine headaches through lens tints.

“I am not tired at the end of my work day due to the exposure to the fluorescent lighting, nor do I get migraines as easily. I can tolerate being at work, and I do not have to consider quitting my job. It is amazing.” (D.B. in Relieve migraines with tinted contact lenses by Optometry Times)

Remember that the quality of the eyewear matters, whether precision tinted or not. Tinted eyewear is not simply a summer fashion accessory, especially those that bring relief to migraine sufferers.

“As with many aspects of migraine, there is no clear-cut answer. What is effective for one person will have no impact on the next, so it is largely up to each individual to find his or her own unique solutions. But anything that gives some control over unpredictable situations is worth looking into, and for light triggers, tinted lenses could provide some relief.” (Can Tinted Glasses... Migraine Relief Center)

Warnings to Consider

When investigating lens tint to reduce light sensitivity as a migraine trigger, be aware of several essential warnings.

First, some people find that lens colors can actually trigger a migraine attack. Studies show that tinted lenses can be helpful for migraine relief, but they also indicate that the wrong type of tint can make migraines worse.

Second, exacerbated light sensitivity concerns those who find relief from excessively dark lenses. Wearing dark glasses indoors can significantly worsen light sensitivity in the long run. This is why finding tints that filter only the most harmful wavelengths is a better option.

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