Migraines used to be a weekly occurrence for me until I finally found the culprit: Technology.
Our High Tech World
We live in such a technologically inclined world, where a screen is always a glance away. From giant bright LED advertisement signs to the television screens and tablets in our own homes, they are nearly inescapable. If you're like me, then you probably find it pretty much impossible to get away from them for any extended amount of time just due to the nature of life. My phone has my calendar and useful apps; my tablet helps me study; my TV helps me relax; my computer allows me to work. Especially with the pandemic, many people are now working from home and spending a lot more time in front of a computer than before.
Screens, Screens, Screens!
As for me, I work in the tech field so most of my days are spent staring at computer screens. With twelve hour shifts, getting a migraine was not only inconvenient but it was preventing me from doing my job well. How could I be a good employee if all I wanted to do was lay down and take a nap in a dark room? The only way for me to escape would be to quit my job!
When I'm not busy working, I often find myself staring at my phone or the TV in my spare time because I have to catch up on my shows and apps and keep in touch with far away friends. Little did I know, this was precisely why my migraines were happening.
There are many different causes for migraines, like dehydration, lack of sleep, poor diet or food allergies. For years, I've gotten horrible light-sensitive migraines just about every week, and the only fix was either to sleep it off or to cover up the problem with an aspirin. Since I've experienced them from childhood, I have tried everything from changing my diet to getting optimum sleep and nothing seemed to work. I eventually just accepted them as part of my life and I stopped trying to figure out a true solution. Then, this year I finally had the idea to try some blue-light blocking glasses.
Blue Light, Blocked.
I assumed these glasses were more for the looks and less for utility, but when I started wearing them I discovered that my weekly migraines were gone; they vanished completely! It seemed too good to be true until I looked into the research and found how disruptive blue light can be to the brain:
"Blue light has the highest photon energy in the visible spectrum, and it readily penetrates through the cornea and the lens to reach the retina, potentially resulting in retinal damage, a phenomenon known to ophthalmologists as the 'blue light hazard'" [source].
This suggests that blue light actually damages our eyes and disrupt sleep and brain cycles, so it's no wonder the same light could cause migraines, too. After researching a bit, I am amazed that this is not a more widely accepted cause for migraines by medical professionals. Many people are instead prescribed medications to cover up the problem, rather than finding the root cause and solving the issue itself.
I also wondered why they don't have blue-light blocking filters built into computer screens already! It seems that the infiltration of excessive blue light into our world is still too new to be seen as a widespread issue, and there will likely be more studies in the future that bring serious optical problems to light.
Recently, I tried using my computer for a couple hours without the glasses, and I started to feel the same old familiar migraine creeping into my head. So now I know for sure that blue light is indeed the problem; I wear my glasses whenever I'm using screens for long periods of time and I feel safe knowing my eyes are protected.
If you suffer from migraines like I used to, the good news is: It's really inexpensive to test out if blue light is the culprit. You just need a pair of non-prescription blue-light blocking glasses like these, which are under $20. Test them out during your work day, or even just watching TV. If you decide to try a pair, feel free to comment below with your experience. Did your migraines go away?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Rebecca Swafford