Migraine: Photophobia and desensitizing it

Photophobia is a major pain in the eyeballs for me with chronic migraines. I own 7 hats and 6 pairs of sunglasses. I have my indoor specs tinted pink for photosensitivity. I have blackout blinds in the house and live in a cave. I have Flux on my computer to change it from aggressive blue light to rose lighting. Then I dim the screen. The thing about light is that it is literally eye torture if you have a migraine. And I also have fibromyalgia and we are also sensitive to light. So stabby-stabby light. It is rather unpleasant. And we tend to avoid it at all costs in various ways.

migraine: Photophobia and desensitizing it

So here is the thing. I heard a little something about photophobia and it had me changing my behaviour. Mine is bad. Very bad. Migraine or not, I cannot leave the house without sunglasses. It is just too painful. So I heard this lady had a doctor recommend she not avoid light and slowly train herself to more light exposure to help with her photophobia. It will not go away, but avoidance makes it more severe.

Well hell, I thought. So off to Google and this comes up:


What can I do to make my light sensitivity go away?First, adequate treatment of the cause is important—that means if you have dry eyes you should treat that symptom aggressively.  Second, be sure that you do not keep yourself in the dark—e.g. NO darkened rooms, no darkened windows, slowly increase the amount of light in your environment so that you are more tolerant of the light.  Get adequate sleep and treat any depression or anxiety which can make your symptoms worse. 

Not found anywhere I might add but on the American Migraine Foundation site. Update I have confirmed this information on other sites and research as well that indeed avoidance does make us more sensitive to light and makes our photophobia worse.

The relative “comfort” of a dark room or dark sunglasses can be a short-term option for really severe bouts of photophobia. But you DO NOT want to engage in these practices regularly because you can actually make your light sensitivity worse. Your eyes ultimately adjust to this darker view, further reducing your ability to tolerate brighter scenes if/when you partake in them. In addition, avoidance of activities due to possible light exposure can increase the risk of depression-like feelings. Theraspecs

Migrelief - Outsmart Your Migraines

Build a tolerance, eh? Or really desensitizing it, since it is extremely oversensitive.

So during the day, I have been cracking blinds open. And for a few minutes each day, a few times a day, I sit outside Without my sunglasses on. Some days this is pretty brutal… like when the sun is full-on daytime and out, yeah, that is eyeball hell. On a nice cloudy day, that is not so bad anymore. It is getting better anyway. I don’t need them at twilight anymore. I can handle a brighter computer screen, for a short duration. Still, need the Flux since it is a blue light that is a problem with migraines.

Anyway, it is an interesting experiment for that downtime. Not with a migraine. But any downtime from a migraine you might have… increase your light exposure on a daily basis. Especially if yours is constant like mine. But the key is Gradual light exposure. Little by little. Otherwise, well, we know how much it hurts. But I find opening the curtains with the blinds closed was a start. Then opening the blinds but having them turned upward, so the light was not directed at me, but up… was the next step. Then I removed the blinds in the living room and just have the thin curtains so now it is bright in the day in there, which my spouse enjoys. Things like that. But it took time.

However, one way to do this is to get migraine specs. Like Axon Optic FL-41 tinted specs because it filters out the evil blue light and helps us with adjusting to light exposure. I wear these FL-41 specs all the time and it has greatly helped me adjust to having light in the house and tolerating light better than I used to. Some days it is still evil and stabby-stabby and I need darkness, my old friend. But other days I use my specs and soft gentle light and I am fine. And they make outdoor specs as well which are darker.

Also, most phones and laptops have a blue light filter you can turn on at night… or all the time which also helps us use devices without triggering a migraine. And again Flux for the computer does the exact same thing.

So there are ways we can slowly adapt to some light exposure when we have a migraine. Some days. It depends on the intensity of that symptom of light sensitivity. Photophobia can be severe or mild just like every symptom of a migraine that varies with the migraine. But with chronic migraine, we can have a lot of light sensitivity issues. I do recommend the investment of the migraine specs for those with chronic migraine. They do help me immensely.

See other posts:

Fl-41 specs for migraine

Review: Axon Optics

Review: Theraspecs
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