6 Ways to Block Fluorescent Lights at Work – and 1 Way Not To

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6 Ways to Block Fluorescent Lights at Work – and 1 Way Not To

Does fluorescent lighting make you feel a little…uncomfortable? Here’s how to block fluorescent lights at work. 

If the fluorescent lights in your office cause you discomfort, you may have photophobia, or light sensitivity. You might find yourself blinking excessively or squinting to try to filter out some of that light. Maybe your eyes begin to tear up. You may even get a headache or feel sick to your stomach. Whatever your symptoms, they can be uncomfortable, annoying, and inconvenient, affecting your ability to do your job.

But because fluorescent lighting is so prevalent, it’s pretty hard to avoid. “Those with hypersensitive photoreceptor cells may experience discomfort in locations with harsh fluorescent lighting such as big box stores, schools, and offices or from car headlights and sunlight reflecting off of water,” says Dr. Bradley Katz, neuro-ophthamologist.

Fluorescent Lights Survey

We wanted to better understand how fluorescent lights affect people with migraine and their everyday lives, so we took a survey and have 1688 responses to help paint a picture of what fluorescent lights are like for people with headache and migraine.

  • 33% reported having severe limitations functioning under fluorescent lights
  • 56% responded that bright lights provoke a headache “often” or “very often”
  • 73% responded that bright light is very unpleasant during a headache
  • 85% wears sunglasses to decrease headaches
fluorescent lights survey results

If you work in an office, chances are you’re sitting underneath fluorescent lighting for 8 or more hours a day. Since turning off all the lights isn’t really an option, how can you block fluorescent lights at work?

How to Block Fluorescent Lights at Work

Here’s are 6 ways to block fluorescent lights at work:

#1 Wide Brimmed Hats

While this can help to shade the eyes, it’s probably tough to find an office environment where employees are allowed to wear hats all the time (not to mention hat hair).

#2 Physical Barriers

To block fluorescent lights at work, many people try draping fabric over cubicle walls or even rigging up an umbrella. This might make your cubicle look like a million bucks (or not), but it won’t be an option for everyone. Aside from office rules, you and your office mates still need to be able to see.

#3 Screen Guards

If the glare on your computer screen exacerbates your problem, using a glare screen or shading device over your monitor could help ease your discomfort at the computer, but it won’t protect your eyes from overhead fluorescents.

#4 Dimmers

If you have control over your particular area and sit near a window, this could work well for you. But as adjusting the lighting may also affect those who sit near you, it might not be the most plausible solution.

#5 Natural Lighting

Using natural light to reduce your reliance on fluorescent lights can help you get some relief. If you can, try to relocate your desk near a window or skylight. But before you choose a spot, check the conditions at different times of day and from varying angles. At certain hours, you might get some glare off nearby buildings, which can be a problem for some people.

#6 Light Sensitivity Glasses

How to block fluorescent lights at work

Much different from sunglasses or even computer glasses, fluorescent light glasses are made specifically for people with photophobia, and can help you block fluorescent lights at work and anywhere else they are found. But instead of blocking all types of light the way sunglasses do, these lenses block only the types of light most commonly associated with photophobia symptoms.

Clinical surveys have shown them to be effective, and over a thousand users have seen results. “I have many patients who have had great success when I’ve recommended light sensitivity glasses over computer glasses. The light sensitivity glasses are better all the way around,” says Dr. Katz. And if you get them from Axon Optics, they’re pretty darn stylish, too.

One customer, John, shares his story about finding relief from the fluorescent lights at his work: “I was getting dizzy and headaches at work on a daily basis. I work at a hospital with all fluorescent lighting and white walls. After realizing that it was the lighting that was causing me a headache, I did some research online after becoming pretty desperate for some relief. I ordered a pair and since then they have worked great. I haven’t had any dizzy spells or nearly as many headaches if any. Highly recommended.”

Frame that Blocks Fluorescent Lights at Work
Axon Optics Bello Light Sensitivity Eyewear

What NOT to Do


While wearing dark glasses indoors can provide some relief, it can also cause your eyes to dark-adapt. This happens when your eyes grow accustomed to dim conditions, actually making them more sensitive to light. As you can imagine, this can cause even greater discomfort. According to Dr. Katz, “We see this dark adaption occurring all the time. For instance, when we come out of the movie cinema in the middle of the day and face the bright sunlight it causes discomfort [even for people without light sensitivity]. Wearing sunglasses inside has a similar effect.”

If you’re tempted to wear sunglasses indoors, opt for light sensitivity eyewear instead; it won’t cause your eyes to dark adapt.

No matter the cause of your photophobia, precision-tinted glasses or contacts from Axon Optics can ease the discomfort of fluorescent and other types of lighting. If you’ve been wondering how to block fluorescent lights at work, they might be your simplest, most convenient option. Since these glasses are non-invasive, there is no risk involved in wearing them all day, every day. Visit our online store to learn more about your options.

Distressed by Light - Ad for Axon Optics


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34 thoughts on “6 Ways to Block Fluorescent Lights at Work – and 1 Way Not To

  1. Rebekah says:

    I was lucky enough to work for a company where they offered to seat me in the back corner and took the long fluorescent light bulbs out of the only ceiling light above me. I wore my Axon Optics glasses as well. Helped a ton! Very accommodating!

  2. Catherine Bryan says:

    I guess I have photophobia because different types of lighting can be an automatic migraine with aura trigger for me. As for my office, I rigged two bamboo window shades as covers over the two fluorescent lights. I bought the cheap shades at Home Depot, cut them down to size, and then attached them to the frame around the lights using simple clips (you know the kind that you have in the office that come in different sizes to clip together a thick packet of papers, etc.). I hung the shades with a slight drape to them so that they don’t block all light out. There is a 3-4″ gap between the shade and the light/ceiling. I also created this gap because I didn’t want to create a fire hazard of any kind. They’re very effective and other people in my office like them too but they are too lazy to recreate and don’t suffer from migraines. I stole this idea from my massage therapist who did this to the lights in her massage therapy room. If you’re in an open space this might not work, but if you have your own office I recommend it, and it’s cute, kind of zen-like, too. I still get migraines from the lighting in other offices and conference rooms in my office building and I need to take the plunge and buy some Axon light sensitivity glasses, but for now at least my own office is a safe space for me!

  3. Karla Cerise says:

    I just got prescription glasses but i can’t wear them outside or in the store because lighting hurts my eyes tremendously and my neurologist recomended these lenses to me and she had me try on the ones that she had in the office and i was totally awed right away so i guess my question is how hard is it to get the lenses done in glasees and how much does it cost and how do i go about doing this to my glasses cause sunglasses do me no good but if i dont wear them then i get horrible headaches

    • Lori Glover says:

      Many customers do find instant relief when wearing our product. Others realize within a week their symptoms have improved. Non prescription lens replacement starts at $149. Prescription lens pricing can vary depending on your prescription and other lens options. You can email [email protected] with your prescription for a quote and additional information.

  4. Veva E. Wernke says:

    I have had glaucoma for 32 yrs but am stable now. I have also developed Macular Degeneration and is effecting my near vision,, I have high sensitivity to sunlight shining in my windows and prefer not to pull the drapes. Fluorescent lights are the worst they are very irritating and blurs my vision terribly. I have read your info on indoor sunglasses and light sensitivity lenses. I just need to know what I need. Would try a cover over glasses to go over my trifocals. Please can you help me?

    • Lori Glover says:

      You may experience relief or a reduction in symptoms if your dizziness is related to photophobia, or light sensitivity and not a different underlying condition. A patient study at the University of Utah concluded that patients preferred Fl-41 lenses, such as Axon Optics SpectraShield™ lenses to regular sunglasses for photophobia relief. We recommend discussing your specific symptoms with your medical provider.

  5. Veva E. Wernke says:

    I bought the Axon outdoor cover over lenses and love them. Better than sunglasses. I have now ordered the indoor light sensitivity lenses FL41 from where I get my regular trifocal lenses for sunlight and fluorescent lights. I can hardly wait to get them.

  6. Claire Dyes says:

    Another way to avoid fluorescent lighting in the workplace is to appeal to the employer’s Human Resource department, citing the Americans With Disabilities Act. An employer may not discriminate against anyone with a physical or mental disorder who makes a reasonable request for accommodations. My employer was quick to ask if anything additional was needed beyond changing the lighting to LED when I let them know of my issues. Even in the oldest buildings, they can purchase a converter for the light fixture that will work with LED lighting. It was an answer to prayer!

  7. Rachel says:

    Do these glasses also help people with hypersensitivity to light that’s caused by sensory issues? I don’t get migraines but experience fatigue/sensory overload with too much light stimulation. Some sites have recommended sunglasses indoors but I understand why that’s bad for you!

    • Lori Glover says:

      Yes. All of our non prescription frames have a 30 day return policy so you can determine if they are effective for you.

  8. P says:

    I had maintenance unscrew only the fluorescent bulbs over my desk sue to debilitating migraines, but now my supervisor is insisting they be on. Despite the fact that I have told them my migraines are much worse with those lights on. I have an adequate desk light for my desk that works fine, still they insist I have to work under the fluorescent lights. Is there anything I can do? Legally? This does not seem fair. I have been here well over three years. thanks.

    • Laura says:

      I read above “Another way to avoid fluorescent lighting in the workplace is to appeal to the employer’s Human Resource department, citing the Americans With Disabilities Act. An employer may not discriminate against anyone with a physical or mental disorder who makes a reasonable request for accommodations.” Very legitimate, your supervisor seems to just be acting with arrogance just because he/she can.

  9. Stewart says:

    I recently read that fluorescent lights can exacerbate the symptoms of rosacea. This was noted by a neurovascular physiologist and said it’s not because of the light on one’s skin, but rather the way the light is processed through the eyes. Here’s what was said, “Fluorescent lighting has some properties in it that when it penetrates the eye and is transduced back through the optic nerve, it excites the visual cortex of the brain (normal action), but also alters the production of two chemicals in the
    anterior hypothalamus – norepinephrine and gabba (not normal).

    These chemicals then stimulate dilatory nerve fibers to the face and also releases cortisol, a dilatory hormone; hence rosacea flushing. In the normal population fluorescent lighting is a common trigger for migraines and cluster headaches because of the changes caused to norepinephrine and gabba (blood brain vessels dilate, but they don’t flush because they don’t have rosacea). So, fluorescent
    lighting does not induce a rosacea trigger via direct interaction with facial skin, but is in fact a visual cortex processing affect.” If all that was said is true, will your FL-41 lenses mitigate this reaction to fluorescent?

    I am a 47 year old male with blue eyes and I have rosacea.

    • Lori Glover says:

      All of our non-prescription frames have a 30 day return policy so you can determine if they are effective for you. Our SpectraShield FL-41 is effective for about 90% of our customers.

      Thank you for taking time to comment. We certainly hope our product brings you relief.

  10. JC says:

    Do the lens give everything a rose tint? For my work, it’s ideal that colours are not affected, but I have photophobia and am looking for some different solutions to what I currently use.

    • Lori Glover says:

      When you scroll toward the bottom of our homepage you will see a cool graphic that allows you to slide the bar. This will give you an idea of how little color is affected. All non prescription orders have a lenient 30 day return policy so you can determine if the lenses are effective for you and are a good option for your “toolbox”. Feel free to email [email protected] for more information.

  11. Randall says:

    The best place I’ve ever worked for, lighting-wise, had light fixtures on top of the cube walls that faced the ceiling. Indirect lighting. It was the most pleasant and even lighting I’ve ever experienced from fluorescent bulbs. No eye strain whatsoever. I don’t miss that job, but I miss the lighting. Now, we have those square fixtures that, while looking awesome from an angle, leave the bare bulbs exposed to anyone under them. Worst. Lighting. Ever! I have a migraine after 2 hours. We try to keep the lights off in our section, but the director sometimes pops them on when he passes by. Worst. Director. Ever!

  12. Holly Pittman says:

    I am a senior high teacher and have medically documented photophobia. I got it thanks to a bad bout of meningitis.
    The sun shines directly into my class ( a computer lab) windows all day so it’s nice a bright without the lights. The students prefer the lights off as do I and as does my dr who wrote my limitations. District refuses to honor it because of student safety. I bought some light blocking glasses (not sun glasees) but I’m going to give these a try. I’m desperate because I get migraines and very tired from that horrible lighting.

  13. Marybeth says:

    I’m trying to compare anti reflective coating with these glasses and I am not sure I understand why they are better. My eye doctor says I need AR coating for the sensitivity.

    • Nicole says:

      Our AR coating is premium with 9 layers of protection which is well beyond what other lenses provide. AR coatings virtually eliminate all reflections from the front and back surfaces of your lenses. Without bothersome reflections, more light is able to pass through your lenses which optimizes your vision.

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