Managing Light Sensitivity in the Workplace

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Managing Light Sensitivity in the Workplace

Migraines can be triggered by a number of external factors. As a migraine sufferer, you can reduce your likelihood of an attack by limiting your exposure to these triggers; but when it comes to controlling your surroundings that’s usually easier said than done.

Controlling your environment is difficult in public settings, especially in the workplace. When you’re at work, you’re susceptible to a variety of workplace stressors.

  • Many offices have harsh fluorescent lighting
  • Hours of staring at a computer screen
  • Coworkers may wear strong-smelling perfumes
  • Food or drinks that trigger a migraine

One of the most prevalent and hard-to-control triggers in the workplace is light sensitivity, but that doesn’t mean you’re powerless when it comes to managing this trigger.

A photo of business colleagues working in brightly lit office. Focus is on mature businesswoman using desktop PC with male coworker in cubicle. Professionals are at workplace.

Light Sensitivity at Work

Light sensitivity, or photophobia, affects each person differently. Migraine sufferers may experience sensitivity to different wavelengths of light, patterns of light and may be more sensitive to light during one season versus another. Despite the uniqueness of light sensitivity there are some consistencies:

  • Exposure to light can dramatically increase the amount of pain and discomfort you are experiencing during a migraine headache.
  • People who are photophobic are sensitive to light even when they’re between migraines.
  • Blue and green wavelengths of light are associated with increased sensitivity and pain.
  • Fluorescent lights, computer screens and other indoor lighting are some of the most common trigger sources.

For migraine sufferers with light sensitivity, most workplace settings are problematic. So, how can you limit your exposure to light in the workplace and control your migraine headaches?

Limiting Sensitivity to Light at Work

Controlling the amount or type of light in your workplace is not always an option. Nonetheless, there is an individual solution for controlling your exposure to workplace lighting with precision tinted lenses.

Not all glasses are created equal when it comes to reducing the exposure to light that causes migraines. In fact, if you wear regular black sunglasses indoors you may actually increase your sensitivity to light. Dr. Kathleen Digre, MD, professor of ophthalmology and neurology at the University of Utah, says that, “People who wear dark glasses can actually dark-adapt themselves and increase their photosensitivity. Sunglasses outside, of course, are fine, but the darker the glasses inside, the more light-sensitive the person will become.”

Instead, migraine sufferers should opt for specially-tinted glasses, which are proven to block out the wavelengths of light implicated in aggravating migraine. Light sensitivity lenses are a cost-effective and noninvasive solution for coping with light sensitivity in the workplace.

Other proven methods for reducing your susceptibility to migraines in the workplace, even those caused by light sensitivity, include implementing an exercise program or a relaxation technique into your daily routine.

randomized study revealed exercise and relaxation techniques to be just as effective as medication for reducing the frequency of migraines. Adult participants in the study implemented either 40 minutes of exercise three times a week or incorporated daily relaxation techniques, such as meditation. During the study’s three-month period, the exercise group saw a 93 percent decrease in migraine attacks while the relaxation group saw an 83 percent decrease.

Even though you can’t completely eliminate your sensitivity to light in the workplace, these methods can be your simple solution for controlling your exposure to light and susceptibility to migraines.


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2 thoughts on “Managing Light Sensitivity in the Workplace

  1. Lila says:

    Hi. I had a horrible reaction when my office went from florescent to LED bulbs. I actually had to take some time off work. I have some proper pink toned lenses that helped a lot but not enough, though I may try another brand. My office is also willing to work with me. Are there any filters or other options that can reduce the flickering or blue light in my area of the office? Standard overhead big office lighting. Thanks so much for your time.

    • Lori Glover says:

      Pink tinted lenses are not the same as SpectraShield FL-41 and are not effective for light sensitivity. You and yourr employer are welcome to contact [email protected] for additional product information. Oscillopsia is a visual disturbance in which objects in the visual field appear to oscillate. The severity of the effect may range from a mild blurring to rapid and periodic jumping. Oscillopsia is an incapacitating condition experienced by many patients with neurological disorders.

      In addition, sensitivity to objects in motion can also be seen in people with migraine. Some migraine sufferers get a dizzy or off-balance sensation when riding in a car and seeing the scenery move by. Some people even notice this “visual discomfort” when walking down an aisle at a store and seeing objects moving in their peripheral vision. Axon Eyewear, while not a cure for this phenomenon, can be extremely helpful in reducing this visual discomfort.

      Our Axon Optics indoor lens is perfect for indoor use at home, school, church, the office, businesses – anywhere with bright lights and especially commercial fluorescent light fixtures. They’re especially helpful with fluorescent light, electronic device screens (Computers, smartphones, etc), LEDs, and blinking or flashing lights.

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