can you get special lenses to help against migrain?
Bruce Fitzgerald BEng (Hons) BSc (Hons) MCOptom answers this question
Research by Dr Arnold Wilkins from Essex University has shown that tinted
lenses can help prevent migraines in some patients.
As with dyslexia, the colour of the lens that helps migraine sufferers
varies by individual.
An Intuitive Colorimeter is used to determine the most suitable tint. This
instrument allows a person to look at text through a lens while the colour, its
depth and amount of illumination is changed until the patient decides which is
the most agreeable.
The theory behind this is that ‘pattern glare' may be one cause of
migraines. Pattern glare describes the discomfort people feel when they look at
certain patterns, particularly close horizontal or vertical stripes. Sufferers
see anomalous effects, such as bending or waving of the stripes, or images
jumping about or a lattice-like structure. Others see colour shadows behind printed
shapes or perceive the lines to be fading or flickering.
But why should patterns and text cause discomfort and induce headaches in
some people? It has been suggested that some people are hypersensitive to
visible stimulation. In some way their brain becomes overloaded by the
information their eyes are sending it.
The coloured lenses seem to work by dulling or cutting down on the information
the brain receives, but the tinted lens colour is specific to the individual.
Some opticians have an Intuitive Colorimeter and can perform one of these
specialised tests. They can then order specially made tinted glasses lenses in
the chosen tint.