Migraine glasses are specialized eyewear. They filter out specific light wavelengths, like blue light, to reduce the frequency and intensity of migraine episodes.

Migraine episodes are intense and often recurring headaches that can occur with symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and visual disturbances.

Let’s delve into the science behind migraine glasses, their effectiveness, and what features to consider when choosing the right pair.

Over 90% of people with migraine episodes experience light sensitivity, or photophobia, which can trigger episodes. Specialized migraine glasses have been developed to block certain light wavelengths that can trigger or worsen migraine headaches. Light, especially blue light, is a known trigger in about 38% of migraine cases.

Migraine glasses target a crucial element in the eye known as intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (IpRGCs). These cells are light-sensitive and are involved in regulating our body’s circadian rhythm and pupil responses. They contain melanopsin, a pigment that’s most sensitive to blue-green light.

Migraine glasses function by reducing the stimulation of these IpRGCs. By blocking certain wavelengths of light, such as blue-green light, these glasses can effectively decrease the frequency and intensity of migraine episodes triggered by light sensitivity.

The effectiveness of migraine glasses varies among individuals. Some studies suggest that they can reduce the frequency and severity of migraine headaches for some people, while others indicate that a placebo can be just as effective.

In a small study, 10 participants with migraine wore Blue Cut for Night (BCN) glasses exclusively at night for 4 weeks. These glasses are designed to reduce light stimulation to IpRGCs, which can trigger migraine episodes.

The findings show that wearing BCN glasses tended to decrease the number of days with migraine episodes over the 4-week period compared with before wearing the glasses. Participants had an average of 7 headache days per month while wearing the glasses, compared with 8.7 days before wearing them.

The participants reported no side effects. However, this study’s sample size is especially small, and ideally, it will be replicated with a larger participant base in the future. If you want to get involved with studies on migraine glasses, you can check out ClinicalTrials.gov.

In a study involving 48 participants, 37 of whom completed the study, researchers tested glasses with a 480-nanometer (nm) optical notch filter, which blocks light at the 480-nm wavelength in the blue light range. They compared the effects of these glasses with those of a sham filter at 620 nm.

Both sets of glasses led to significant reductions in headache impact, as measured by the Headache Impact Test. Surprisingly, there was no significant difference in effectiveness between the two filters.

In an older study from 2002, 17 participants chose tinted glasses that they felt best reduced text distortion and improved clarity and comfort. They wore these personally chosen glasses for 6 weeks, then they switched to a slightly different tint for another 6 weeks, with a 2-week break in-between.

The results showed that the glasses with the chosen tint slightly reduced headache frequency. Although the findings aren’t definitive, they suggest potential benefits of using customized tinted glasses for migraine.

Health insurance coverage for migraine relief glasses varies. Most private insurance plans don’t cover them, considering them nonessential or specialty items. Some plans may offer partial coverage if a doctor prescribes them for a medical condition.

Medicare generally doesn’t cover migraine relief glasses, as they’re often seen as elective or nonprescription eyewear. Medicare Part B covers some vision-related costs, but not glasses specifically for migraine relief.

The cost of migraine relief glasses ranges from $50 to $200, depending on the brand and type of lenses. Customized or higher-end options can be more expensive.

If you have a health savings account (HSA) or flexible spending account (FSA), you may be able to use these funds to purchase migraine relief glasses. These accounts allow you to use pre-tax dollars for eligible medical expenses, making these glasses more affordable.

Talk with your insurer to find out if coverage is available.

When looking for glasses to help relieve migraine episodes, it’s important to consider certain features to ensure you’re choosing a quality product. Here are some key factors to keep in mind:

  • Tinted lenses: Many people with migraine symptoms find relief with glasses that have an FL-41 (fluorescent) tint, which filters out specific wavelengths of light known to trigger migraine headaches. These tints can be particularly effective for indoor and fluorescent lighting.
  • Blue light blocking: Since blue light is a known trigger for migraine headaches, glasses that block blue light may also be beneficial. Look for lenses that specifically filter out blue light in the 480 nm to 500 nm range, which is most likely to worsen migraine symptoms.
  • Comfort and fit: Comfort is crucial for any glasses you plan to wear for extended periods. Ensure that the glasses fit well, are lightweight, and don’t cause additional pressure on your head or face.
  • Prescription compatibility: If you wear prescription glasses, look for migraine relief glasses that can accommodate your prescription or can be customized with your prescription lenses.
  • Customer reviews and research: Look at reviews from other users who live with migraine headaches to see how effective the glasses have been for them. Scientific studies or endorsements by healthcare professionals can also provide credibility to the product’s effectiveness.

Check out these articles to learn about our best picks for blue-light-blocking glasses for adults and options for kids.

Wearing migraine glasses may help relieve or prevent migraine episodes by filtering out specific wavelengths of light, such as blue light, which is a known trigger for migraine headaches.

If you’re considering migraine glasses, consult with a healthcare professional to determine if they’re a suitable option for your migraine management. Look for glasses with an FL-41 tint or blue light-blocking lenses, as studies have suggested that these could be effective in reducing migraine episodes for some people.