Do you ever feel like you get headaches from sunlight? Does sunshine cause you to squint like crazy or cover your eyes? You might think it’s a natural reaction to super bright light. But if you’re among a certain percentage of the population, your condition isn’t a natural reaction. In fact, for these people, bright light such as sunshine can cause headaches or full-blown migraine attacks.
Let’s take a look at why you might be getting a headache from sunlight and what you can do about it.
Cause 1: You’re Just More Sensitive to Light
Research has shown that people with migraines are more sensitive to light than others. Studies have also revealed that those who suffer from migraines as well as some other types of chronic headaches tend to have a lower tolerance of bright light. And not only are they more sensitive to light, but the majority of people with migraine say that bright light is actually a trigger for their attacks.
For people who are sensitive to sunlight, it may only take 5-10 minutes in the sun to trigger a migraine. If this sounds like you, you might have a condition called photophobia, or excessive light sensitivity. Photophobia can also cause other symptoms like excessive tears, blinking, eye pain or burning, even nausea. Fortunately, AxonOptics makes precision-tinted light sensitivity glasses that can reduce your symptoms.
See your doctor if you think you might have photophobia. They can help you rule out anything serious.
Cause 2: You’ve Been in the Sun for a While
The premise of this one is simple. The more time you spend outside in the sun, the higher the likelihood that you’ll get a headache. It might not happen immediately, even for light sensitive people. But if you stay outdoors — especially without protecting your eyes — the cumulative effect of that sun exposure could finally trigger a headache or migraine.
Cause 3: Blue Wavelengths
Sunlight contains a whole spectrum of light wavelengths, but one of the most powerful ones is blue light. Blue light is intense and very high energy. Aside from the sun, blue light is emitted by devices like smartphones and TVs, along with fluorescent lights.
It’s been pretty well documented that blue light is one of the wavelengths that causes pain for migraineurs. So if you seem to get headaches from sunlight, it could be an effect of the blue light combined with the brightness of the sun.
Even for people who aren’t prone to migraines, blue light can be irritating, causing eye strain, headaches, eye dryness, or sleep interruptions. This is why it’s important to take frequent breaks from your computer.
What to Do About Headaches From Sunlight
Reducing your eyes’ sun exposure is probably the best way to avoid getting a sunlight-related headache. Here are a few simple tools you can use.
Axon Optics Lenses
If you have photophobia, you might already be familiar with Axon Optics lenses for indoor use. These precision-tinted lenses filter out the wavelengths of light most likely to cause discomfort or trigger a migraine. But did you know we also make outdoor lenses? All of our stylish frames come in both indoor and outdoor tints, so you can step outside and know those peepers are well protected.
Stay Indoors During Peak Hours
Generally speaking, the sun is most intense between the hours of 10am and 6pm, especially in summertime. If you’re sensitive to light, you might consider planning outdoor activities in the early morning and later evening hours.
Drink Lots of Water
Dehydration is a known migraine trigger. And when you’re out in the sun, it can happen more readily. Whether you’re hanging around by the pool, hiking, exercising, or just out having a good time, be sure to drink plenty of water and do what you can to stay cool.
Ice packs, cooling towels, and a good old-fashioned umbrella or canopy can also help regulate your body temperature and keep you from overheating. Getting too hot could contribute to becoming dehydrated, or at least make you very uncomfortable. Always be wary of heat exhaustion in hot weather.
Wear a Hat
Hats are a great complement to your outdoor sunglasses. Put on a hat and give your sensitive eyes an extra measure of shady protection.
By taking these few simple steps and avoiding other headache or migraine triggers (like certain foods, fatigue, or stress), you can decrease your chances of getting headaches or migraine attacks. If you’re light sensitive, check out Axon Optics lenses specifically made to block only the painful light.