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People with photosensitivity and sound sensitivity: Is there anyone with triggers like me? What has worked for you?

Do any of you get headaches from white screen on computers (like in a Microsoft Word document)?
What has worked for you to relieve symptoms?
Has the doctor diagnosed you with anything specific or just migraines/tension headaches?

I have been dealing with headaches for about 2 years now. I have been able to manage them to the point that I can return to a pretty normal life but sometimes my management methods don’t help. I wanted to find others who have had similar experiences and learn from them. Do you have experiences like me with headaches?

My Symptoms and Triggers
-My main trigger is a white computer screen like in a Microsoft Word document. I have to have dark mode on any screen that I am using to prevent headaches. Viewing distance of the screen does not seem to make a difference. Sometimes natural light has caused problems too.
-My headaches are bilateral, i.e. on both sides of my forehead. When I started getting headaches two years ago, I initially got very nauseous and easily car sick but I do not any more. No other symptoms besides this.
-I sometimes have been triggered by bright lights at the gym or lights while in a dark theater, but these aren’t as frequent or as bad as a computer. I feel like sometimes I may be more sensitive to that after I have used a computer for a long time.
-I sometimes get triggered by normal sound from earbuds or in a noisy gym.

Effective Treatments for Me
-I get relief with eye drops, hot showers with the water screaming on my face, using sunglasses, massaging my head, and using dark mode with screens or stopping to use them all together.
-The medication Nortriptyline has been effective. I am also taking Riboflavin (vitamin B2), Coenzyme Q10, and magnesium supplements which may be helping.

I have had doctors suggest that my headache may be due to lubrication in my eye or some neurological issue because I am getting headaches from both noise and lights. They are not exactly sure what the cause is.

Do any of you have similar symptoms to me from computer use?
What has helped you?
What have you been diagnosed with by the doctor?

  1. Thank you for reaching out to our community with your questions and concerns. I can tell you you're not alone in dealing with these triggers. Let me see what information I can give you that may be beneficial.
    The first thing that comes to mind is getting an accurate diagnosis. There are over 200 types of different headache disorders including but not limited to migraine! Once we get an accurate diagnosis, we'll be able to learn about our disease and receive the proper treatment.
    Here's why it's important to get the right diagnosis - episodic migraine (14 or fewer migraine/headache days a month) can transform into chronic migraine (15 or more migraine/headache days a month) fairly quickly, without proper treatment and no one wants to be chronic! Without an accurate diagnosis we won't be able to treat things! I hope that makes sense? This link has more information on cause vs. triggers;
    We don't know what "causes" migraine, but do know our brains are overly sensitive and it's a neurological disease. Like you, many of us are triggered by lights and noise and use various things to help inhibit these. Some measures include glasses specially designed for light sensitivity. We've heard from a lot of people who use these glasses and it helps with screen sensitivity. You can read more about this here;
    This link has information on sound sensitivity:
    I'll stop now so you can digest all that information! Please reach out again with questions, that's what we're here for! I'm sending along pain free wishes, Nancy Harris Bonk, Patient Leader/Moderator Team

    1. Hi. Loop earplugs work a treat for my sound sensitivity.

      1. I use the Loop Engage range Cody. Hope they work for you!

      2. Thank you so much for sharing what works for you. By doing so, you shorten what can be a lengthy process looking for a good option. Grateful to you. How are you today? Warmly- Holly team

    2. Thanks for sharing your experience here. It's sparking a great discussion - and one that I certainly hopes becomes helpful for you.

      I do find that if I spend too much time on screens that my head can bother me. One strategy that I have found helpful is dimming the brightness on all my devices as well as putting and filters on. The blue light blocking glasses help some people, and I wear them occasionally although I can't say that I've notice meaningful results from them. At least they're cheap so it's not a big loss!

      I take many of the supplements that you mentioned and like them for many reasons including migraine.

      I hope this and the information that the others share in this discussion - and the comments that are still to come - are helpful!
      - Alene, moderator

      1. Computer screens are quite a challenge for those of us who have vestibular migraines or migraines with vestibular and/or optical triggers. Computer screens are bright and they all have a subtle flickering. I use dark screen, sunglasses, and set times to walk away. All bright lights trigger vestibular migraines for me. I have no LED lights, all bulbs are 40 watts or less, blackout curtains, etc. Noise is also a trigger.

        1. I turned the brightness down on my computer as I was reading your comment here. Thanks for that reminder. Even though I have special settings, it can always be turned down further and I can almost feel the immediate relief on my eyes.

          Thanks for sharing your experience with changing the light bulbs too. That's a great idea and I'm sure makes a big difference.
          - Alene, moderator

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