Lab Results Reveal the Best Migraine Glasses in 2022

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Lab Results Reveal the Best Migraine Glasses in 2022

A surprising number of people with migraines don’t even know migraine glasses are a thing, let alone knowing the best migraine glasses for them. Fortunately, the word is reaching more people every day, which leads a lot of them to search the web for the best migraine glasses. 

Well, it must be your lucky day because the lab results about migraine glasses are in. This article will explore the different types and brands. We’ll even lay out the science to help you learn what could be the best migraine glasses for you.

Are They Migraine Glasses or Not?

Increasing awareness of the existence of migraine glasses is a good thing. However, as demand goes up, so do the number of options, which can make choosing a pair more difficult. 

You may be looking at reputable brands, but have a hard time deciphering the differences between them. Or you may also be looking at glasses marketed as “migraine glasses” which aren’t actually migraine glasses at all. 

Let’s take a look at some popular glasses sold or used as migraine fighting tools. Our goal is to help you distinguish myth from fact and understand the pros and cons of each. 

Sunglasses

Let’s get this out of the way right off the top. Sunglasses are not migraine glasses. We’re including them here because a lot of people use outdoor sunglasses as if they were the best migraine glasses available — but they’re not.

Sunglasses aren't the best migraine glasses. They aren't for indoors.

Benefits of Sunglasses

Sunglasses definitely have their benefits. When you’re hit with a migraine, putting on a pair of dark outdoor sunglasses might bring some short-term relief, like sitting in a dark room. 

Sunglasses are designed to block light from getting into your eyes, so if you’re light sensitive before or during an attack, wearing them could be really tempting. But the relief they bring comes with a risk that most people don’t talk about.

Drawbacks of Sunglasses

If you keep putting on sunglasses whenever you have a migraine, over time you’ll risk dark adapting your eyes and making your light sensitivity worse. 

Do you remember the last time you went to a matinee movie? When you came out of the dark theater into the light it was probably painful, because your eyes had adapted to the dark theater. 

Sunglasses do the same thing. Because they block all types of light, they cause your eyes to get used to the darkness. So when you do step into the light, it becomes even more painful.

When you’re outside, a good pair of sunglasses is a must. But when you have a migraine, leave the sunglasses outside and wear migraine glasses instead.

Blue Light Blocking Glasses

Blue light glasses are made under several brand names. They are designed to filter out the digital light emitted by computers, TVs, and smartphones. But like sunglasses, blue light glasses are not migraine glasses.

Blue light glasses aren't the best for migraines.

Benefits of Blue Light Glasses

Many people say that wearing blue light glasses helps with eye strain. They are inexpensive and easy to come by, and you can wear them all day without adverse effects. A quick Amazon search for blue light glasses will turn up dozens of choices.

Drawbacks of Blue Light Glasses

Despite extensive study, blue light glasses haven’t been shown to reduce migraines or light sensitivity symptoms. From brand to brand and pair to pair, blue light glasses actually vary significantly in the type of light that they block. 

For this reason, buying blue light glasses is a gamble. The only thing they’re consistent in is that they don’t actually block the types of light shown to aggravate migraine and light sensitivity.

Migraine Shields

Migraine Shields is actually a brand name. Even though they’re marketed to people with migraine, they’re not migraine glasses — just a better brand of blue light glasses. 

Migraine shields are not the best “migraine glasses” because the tint is completely different from actual migraine glasses.

Benefits of Migraine Shields

If you’re sensitive to digital screens, Migraine Shields are purported to block 45% to 59% of blue light at 455 nanometers, which is the light emitted from digital screens. This is better than a lot of other blue light glasses on the market.

If your eyes bother you or you get headaches from heavy computer or smartphone use, Migraine Shields could help you. They do a good job of blocking blue light.

Drawbacks of Migraine Shields

If your light sensitivity tends to bring on migraines, Migraine Shields may not be for you. They lack the pinkish tint of FL-41 lenses or other migraine glasses.

Migraine Shields are also not designed to block amber (or orange) light. To be effective, real migraine glasses need to block both blue and amber light.

Migraine Shields also don’t currently come in prescription lenses, or in frames that can fit over your prescription glasses.

FL-41 Lenses

Unlike what we’ve covered so far, FL-41 glasses actually are migraine glasses. They were developed in the early 1990s to help people with extreme sensitivity to fluorescent lights. Today, many people wear these pinkish tinted lenses to help with photophobia and migraine.

Benefits of FL-41

The original FL-41 tint was well researched and tested for its time. The FL-41 tint formed the basis for further study of light sensitivity, and how it can be treated.

Unlike blue blocking glasses, FL-41 glasses block both blue and amber light, which is necessary for reducing the symptoms of photophobia and migraine.

Drawbacks of FL-41

Since the introduction of FL-41 in 1991, we’ve learned a lot more about the types of light that both hurt and help us.

While the FL-41 does a good job of blocking the light that hurts, it also blocks the light that helps. Green light has actually been shown to reduce photophobia and headache severity, but FL-41 lenses block 80% of green light.

Another potential drawback to FL-41 glasses is inconsistency. When tested across different suppliers, glasses sold as FL-41 were found to have wide variations in lens color, spectral characteristics, quality, and more. 

FL-41 lenses don’t all look the same, and they don’t all block the same types of light, making it impossible to know what you’re getting. In fact, when buying a given brand of lenses sold as FL-41, you may be getting cheap colored lenses that don’t do anything but distort the world around you.

Who Makes the Best Migraine Glasses?

When it comes to specific brands of migraine glasses, there are a handful of reputable options. Each one has its own development and manufacturing processes, so they don’t all deliver the same results.

Axon Optics

Axon Optics was founded by one of the original pioneers of migraine glasses, neuro-ophthalmologist Dr. Bradley Katz. Over the last 2 decades, his leadership and research have driven us to improve on the FL-41 tint, making Axon Optics the best migraine glasses. 

Here are a few specific improvements that have been made.

Let in the Soothing Green Light

Because Axon Optics bases its development on the latest research, their lenses are engineered to not only block the painful blue and amber light that aggravate light sensitivity and migraine, but to allow the helpful green light in.

Green light has been shown to reduce headache severity and photophobia, and you’ll get more of it with our glasses than with other brands (more on that in a minute).

Less Light Reflected Back at You

Many other brands of migraine glasses reflect some of the light they block back into your eyes. Axon Optics lenses feature many high quality coatings, including premium anti-glare treatments. 

The result of those coatings is that less than 0.2% of the light is reflected back toward you. This is many times less than other brands.

Less Color Discoloration

Axon Optics lenses have a lighter hue than other brands (TheraSpecs® for example). In this image, you can see the difference.

The best migraine glasses don't need to be darker to be effective.

Why is this important? Because it means your outlook has very little color distortion. While you’re wearing our glasses, colors will look almost the same to you as they look without them. It also means other people will see less distortion when they see you wearing our glasses. 

To you and the people around you, Axon Optics glasses just look more “normal.”

No Dark Adaptation

We mentioned before that the reason why sunglasses don’t make the best migraine glasses is because over time, they tend to make your eyes adapt to darkness. This can make your light sensitivity even worse.

Axon Optics lenses are engineered to let in as much of the non-painful light as possible. Our lenses filter out the problematic light but let 65% of light overall, so you won’t make your sensitivity worse by wearing them.

We have heard from a few extremely light sensitive users who have felt that our lenses aren’t quite dark enough for them. However, we have ample data to support the fact that Axon Optics lenses are among the best, if not the best migraine glasses from a results standpoint. 

We’ll get into that right now.

Backed by Science

According to clinically-validated HIT-6™ surveys, people who wear Axon Optics lenses experience great results. 

  • 85% of users experience a decrease in headache impact, including:
    • 33% decrease in headache days
    • 40% reduction in light sensitivity
    • 47% lower headache severity

Also telling is the fact that the vast majority of Hit-6 respondents say they would recommend Axon Optics lenses to other people with similar light sensitivity and migraine symptoms.

Many loyal Axon Optics customers believe we make the best migraine glasses.

Tons of Options

Axon Optics is known for offering really stylish frame choices. We frequently hear from customers telling us they receive compliments from others while wearing our fashion-forward lenses, which come in 20+ different styles. 

Axon Optics is also the only maker of migraine glasses to offer self-darkening transition frames that can be used both indoors and out.

And if wearing glasses isn’t really your thing, we also offer contact lenses with the same light filtering characteristics of our migraine glasses.

TheraSpecs

TheraSpecs is another well-known maker of migraine glasses, but are they the best migraine glasses on the market? TheraSpecs lenses use the traditional FL-41 tint created back in 1991 to protect sensitive individuals from the effects of fluorescent light.

Block Blue Light is Good

TheraSpecs lenses are reported to filter nearly 80% of blue light at 480 nanometers. According to them, that’s the wavelength most likely to cause pain and trigger symptoms like migraine.

Blocking Blue and Amber Light Would Be Better

Filtering the blue light is good, but according to research, both blue and amber light are problematic for light sensitive people.

In testing, TheraSpecs lenses do block some amber light, but at a much lower ratio than the blue light. By contrast, Axon Optics lenses are actively focused on blocking both blue and amber light.

TheraSpecs and Green Light

While TheraSpecs lenses are very good at blocking the most problematic wavelengths of blue light, they also manage to block 80% of the soothing green light.

Since green light has been shown to help migraineurs, TheraSpecs might be more effective for users if green light were allowed to penetrate the lens. See the following graphic for reference.

The best migraine glasses let in the soothing green light.

A Darker Lens

On the surface, it might seem that for light sensitivity, using a darker lens provides better protection. For some people, that may hold true.

But if you consider the risk of dark adapting your eyes and making your sensitivity worse, you realize that for most people, letting in more of the non-offending light is a good thing.

The graphic below shows the difference in darkness between the TheraSpecs lens and the Axon Optics lens. You’ll see that the TheraSpecs lens lets in 20% less overall light (including the good kind) than the Axon lens.

The best migraine glasses should let more good light through, like Axon Optics do.

TheraSpecs and Reflection

Glare is an enemy of anyone with light sensitivity. In testing, TheraSpecs lenses have been found to reflect 3.4% of blocked light back toward the person wearing them.

That doesn’t sound like a lot, but less glare is always better. Consider this: even though Theraspecs reflect “only” 3.4% of light back toward you, that’s 18x more glare than Axon Optics.

The best migraine glasses should have less glare. Axon Optics reflect less than 0.2%.

Stylish Frames

Fortunately for you, migraine glasses have evolved to embrace current eyeglass trends. Although TheraSpecs doesn’t offer quite as many frame options as Axon Optics, there are still many stylish choices.

Choosing the Best Migraine Glasses for You

If you’re looking for a very high likelihood of a reduction in your migraine and light sensitivity symptoms, backed by clinically-validated survey data and driven by decades of research by a leading neuro-ophthalmologist, Axon Optics is the stand-out choice. Try them for 60 days risk-free.

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