Axon Optics is developing eye glasses that block the wavelength of light that triggers migraines. These may offer a natural migraine relief method of reducing the severity and frequency of migraines.
Axon Optics in collaboration with the University of Utah is developing novel coating which can be applied to eyeglasses in order to block the light spectrum that triggers migraines and other neurological disorders such as light sensitivity and blepharospasm. By wearing these migraine glasses, migraine sufferers may experience significant reduction in the frequency and severity of their migraine attacks. These coatings can be applied to spectacle lenses, contact lenses, and various types of light sources. Axon Optics is currently performing clinical studies of coated eyeglasses at the University of Utah.
Just about everyone has headaches. But a migraine is not just a bad headache. Migraines are extremely debilitating chronic headaches that can last for 4-72 hours. In fact, every 10 seconds, someone in the United States goes to the emergency room with a headache or migraine. Sufferers visit the emergency room because of the severity of the pain, the fear of unremitting pain, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and dehydration. Many people fail to realize that migraine is a real illness, like asthma or diabetes.
Amazingly, over 10% of the population, including children, suffers from migraine. In addition to the attack-related disability, many sufferers live in fear knowing that at any time an attack could disrupt their ability to work, care for their families, or enjoy social activities. More than 90% of sufferers are unable to work or function normally during their migraine attacks. Most sufferers experience attacks once or twice a month and about 14 million Americans experience attacks on a near-daily basis. American companies lose more than $13 billion each year due as a result of lost work days due to migraines.
Although the definitive cause of migraines is unknown, over 90% of all patients with migraines report a sensitivity to light (photophobia) during headaches, and many report that light can trigger a migraine. Sufferers are especially sensitive to non-incandescent lighting sources such as fluorescent lights and computer monitors.
Treating Light Sensitivity:
A study took place in 1991 to determine if tinted eyeglasses designed to block specific wavelengths of light could reduce the frequency and severity of migraines when worn by patients. The researchers found that eyeglasses with the rose-colored tint “FL-41” reduced the frequency of migraines from 6.2 per month to 1.6 per month. Anecdotally, more than 80% of the patients report that the FL-41 tint improves symptoms of photophobia and headache. For some, the improvement can be dramatic, allowing patients disabled by headache and photophobia to return to work. Furthermore, a group of Moran researchers recently demonstrated the effectiveness of FL-41 in another light sensitive condition, benign essential blepharospasm
This Company is developing a coating that blocks light known to trigger migraines that does not have the drawbacks of the FL-41 tint. This filter coating is nearly colorless, does not distort color perception, and can be used indoors or outdoors. The filter coating can be applied to not only eyeglasses but also to contact lenses and even light bulbs and computer monitors. Furthermore, the filter will block more light at the targeted wavelength and will likely be more effective than FL-41. With the development of this filter coating, light sensitive patients who suffer from migraines will then have a treatment that:
- Reduces the frequency and severity of migraines,
- Is natural and may reduce the need for medication,
- Is a prophylactic treatment that only needs to be used in specific settings that cause migraines,
- Is easy to use (available in multiple formats),
- Helps restore productivity in the office and home.
Who is the Competition?
Medication is the primary form of migraine treatment. 50% of sufferers take over the counter medication and the other 50% take prescription drugs. The coated lenses are a prophylactic treatment that can help overcome the problem of medication-overuse headache: using pain killers, triptans, or other medications more than 2-3 days per week, week after week, and month after month. Medication overuse can create a pattern that results in more headaches and the need to take more and more medications. Overuse can turn a once or twice a month migraine episode into a near daily chronic migraine. The only way out of this cycle is to stop the pattern of medication overuse. Although the eyeglasses would never fully replace medications, they could help patients reduce their need for medication.