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MigraLens, Irlen, etc.—do special lenses work?

I write in the hopes you can help me. I am interested in biting the bullet and finally buying sunglasses that were made with the photophobic migraineur’s needs in mind. Does anyone reading this have Migralens or glasses made by Irlen? If so, tell me what the lenses are like and how they’re working for you. I’m especially interested in their effectiveness in combating fluorescent lights.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • themigrainegirl
    9 years ago

    I'm reviewing these comments for the first time in awhile and am curious (again) about Irlen. I didn't have any luck contacting the closest Irlen specialist to me (tried to call and email), but maybe I'll try again if I ever have another workplace that has fluorescent lighting. For now I have my rose-colored glasses (no joke) to help me cope when I'm out and about; I work from home so of course can control the lighting in my office. Thanks for all the responses, y'all. Keep me posted as to what's working for you.

  • Anonymous
    9 years ago

    my daughter has suffered with migraines for years and has multiple learning disabilities. she was diagnosed with sss. We researched and she was tested for the Irlen glasses. They have been a miracle for her. She still has headaches but not as often and not at the same intensity level. Not only that but her reading has improved as has her school work. We call her glasses her "super hero" glasses.

  • physical
    9 years ago

    hiya, glad im not the only one that spotted irlen, i have sss which has manifested in migranes and dyslexia like symptoms my whole life. love your blog!

  • max
    11 years ago

    I’ve only just stumbled onto your blog but thought I would post here. I’m working with my eye doctor to try to find a solution for my photophobia, and my sensitivity to fluorescent lighting. I haven’t asked him about either of these lens options but I am looking into a few others.

    I’ll link you to my post on MMC’s forums on the subject where I’ll be posting my updates. Not sure if you’re still looking into this but thought I’d offer my bit of info.

  • Katie H
    11 years ago

    My hatred for florescent lights burns with the heat of a thousand suns.

    No, I am joking. But really, they are my main trigger for migraines, which means a headache pretty much daily. Visors/ hats are OK, but I work in a school and I can’t wear stuff that the kids can’t!

    Has anyone tried these Irlen contacts?

    I checked their site, there is a center near me. Maybe I will check it out and report back.

  • Sue Shell.
    11 years ago

    I use Irlen contacts and have reduced my migraines by 90%. I’m a teacher in a classroom with flourescent lights and no windows. I used to have Irlen “filters”- basically glasses tinted with the color that worked for me, but the contacts don’t let any peripheral light sneak in. Full spectrum flourescents (T8) bulbs are better than regular ones too. The Irlen filters are not much more expensive than good prescription sunglasses, and they work a LOT better.

  • Anonymous
    11 years ago

    Hi, I have chronic migraine + ocular albinism, so photophobia is a big problem for me too. I did the Irlin examination and decided they were too expensive. What I do is: On really sunny days if I really want/need to be outside, I wear my $400 custom made (quality polarized large frame sunglasses with specially darkned lenses) always with a brimmed hat.

    Inside, like today at the library, I wear a cute library and my normal reading glasses or yellow tinted lenses (worth $1, bought at dollar store). Yellow counters the blue light in fluorescent. It will slow the migraine effect down.

    Other days, if I am just stuck in a brightly lit area, but need to see clearly, I wear blue grey sunglasses (I have two pairs $10-20each). It cuts glare a lot and dims a bit.

    It’s also really important for me to assess how the light is coming in…if I am somewhere where the lights is bouncing off windows or white shiny painted walls etc..I need a frame that fits tight to the face. My back up pair of sunglasses ($100 ryders) fit closely around the eyes, similar to Oakleys. They are good for overcast glary days, but not dark enough for most bright days…

    So I’ve spent a lot of time and money on eye care. The drawer of glasses I have does me pretty well. I would definately say that a visor does more to fight the fluorescents than do any glasses (unless they are right up tight against/around your eye)

    Another consideration is prosthetic contact lenses. I don’t quality for them….but they are available at some places. If you can get a referall from your main doctor to an opthamologist (if there is coverage) they may be able to hook you up with them. An optomotrist may be enough though.

    My biggest fluorescent light issue was/is at college. This year I finally approached the disability department and got permission to put in my own lighting in the room where my small class meets regularly (3-4 3-tiered inexpensive floor lamps, with lampheads that can point away for indirect lighting – my class loves it). I got the funding for the lights from an outside organization. That has spared me many a fluorescent-induced migraine.

    Sorry this post was long. I have a lot of experience with this issue, so I wanted to share as much as I could think of.

    Take care,

  • themigrainegirl
    11 years ago

    Catmum, did you see that the site lets you choose the background color that best helps your eyes? The option for that is near the top-right corner of their menu bar. I would choose dark grey (not an option), but I’ll take their options over stark white any day.

  • catmum
    11 years ago

    I hadn’t even heard about this product, but when I went to their website, I almost spit tea out my nose. Whoever designed their website didn’t have a clue! Stark white lettering and colors against black background?! good grief, a migraineur can’t even get through the first page, never mind order something. Let me know if you get any positive feedback on this product.

  • Dolores
    11 years ago

    Hey, I just discovered your site. I’m a 20 something stuck with cronic migraines too. Had them since I was a little kid.

    I ussually just wear really dark sunglasses when I’m out anywhere. I don’t think anything can help with flourescent lights though, since its the flashing along with the brightness that causes migraines. Its like trying to block a strobe light. Unfortunatelly flourescent lights are everywhere now. >

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