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Triggers and Causes

Florescent lights

  • By mmcinturf

    Hello,
    I am so glad to have found this community. My main trigger is florescent lights at my workplace. I started a new job in July and have had a headache almost daily since. Before that, I had one migraine headache and I would occasionally have an aura with no headache.

    Here’s what I have done so far to help with the migraines, and how it is going:

    – I bought theraspecs. They help noticeably but not if I need to sit under florescent lights for over an hour.
    – Sumitriptan works often but I can’t take it every time I get a headache. Maximum is 9 times per month.
    – Topimax – I started it yesterday so I don’t know yet.

    I am a professor. The lighting situation is this: I have unoffensive lamps in my office, but when I teach or go to meetings, or even when I walk down the hallways, I can get a migraine in 5 to 10 minutes. Sometimes, my colleagues will turn some of the lights of for me and that helps a lot. I wore sunglasses indoors before I got the theraspecs but I always thought it didn’t look right.

    Does anyone else have a similar situation? How did you address it in your workplace?

    Thanks for your help,
    Molly

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  • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

    Hi Molly,

    Thank you for sharing your story and being here with us! Lighting is a strong trigger for many of us and is frustrating for sure. I know many people with migraine disease who has issues in the workplace with lights. These articles that have tips and tricks may help;
    https://migraine.com/blog/ada-accommodations-migraine-triggers-making-the-workplace-work-for-you/
    https://migraine.com/?s=Fluorescent+Lights&submit=Go.

    I’ve not had to deal with this as I work PT from home. Hopefully others will be along shortly to share their experiences with you.

    Let me know if this information helps,
    Nancy

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  • By GardensatNight

    I am super light sensitive.

    -Could they install LED lights with very high rates of flicker and change out the ballasts in the rooms you teach in+ any rooms you will be required to be in for meetings (or teleconference you in ON A SAFE SCREEN)+ any hallways you need to go through frequently? I cannot tolerate LED light either, but my brain is a special animal. For some people, this works. Do you find LED lights irritating? Are you sure the lights overhead are fluroescent? Might want to ask the building manager or janitor.

    -If you could be given an office with natural light (rather than needing lamps), that would be even better. All lightbulbs will flicker to some degree. If you get a migraine within 5-10 minutes of exposure, you’re very sensitive. What was your lighting like before? Have you been to a neuro-opthamologist? Headache specialist?

    -I would check your computer screens. They have ALL SORTS of screens from filters that go over the screens to the kind I use that emits no light and doesn’t flicker at all. Light sensitivity and computer screens is not an unknown issue. If the overhead lights are bugging you, the TV and computer and phone are probably twice as bad because of the light/flicker AND refresh rate. For me, that was the first thing I noticed hurting.

    -Many people with migraine disease need sunglasses and a hat under fluorescent lights. Theraspecs are good because they don’t darken too much, but if you’re still getting a headache every day, you need to keep working to try to find a solution or (IMHO) I would get away from that type of lighting.

    -Check all the lights/screens in your house. Incandescent lightbulbs are best for light sensitive people according to one of my neuro-opthamologists because our brains perceive the flicker the least. I would keep away from TV and get a safe computer screen for home if work is hurting me.

    -Polarized sunglasses will help you with glare outside when it’s sunny.

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  • By Akalie

    right is a major trigger for me too. Fluorescent, flashing, or sometimes just the morning sun if there is no transtition from dark. I sleep with a mask and wear sunglasses often in the morning. When I travel in airports too plus earplugs so that the light and sounds are muffled.
    I sometimes feel like a vampire as I am so scared of light !:)

    Noise can be an issue too. Repetitive noise in particular. Thumping noise too. Will start a migraine in a couple of minutes. I ask shops to turn off the music when I enter very often.

    reply
    • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

      Hi Akalie,

      Thank you for sharing your journey with us. As you read through the forum, you can see you’re not alone in dealing with light and sound sensitivity. Many of us with migraine disease use tools to help us combat these migraine attack triggers.

      I’m not sure if you’ve seen this information, but there are glasses specifically made to help combat light sensitivity – both indoor and outdoor. Here is a video with some ideas on how to deal with light sensitivity and this link has our information on glasses designed to help; https://migraine.com/video/tools-for-dealing-with-light-sensitivity/ and https://migraine.com/?s=TheraSpecs.

      I hope that helps, let me know what you think!

      Nancy

      reply
  • By kperry

    Hi – I am very light sensitive as well and have dealt with florescent light issues in the workplace for years. Also, a trip to the grocery store, Target, almost any other public place has florescent lights and I can only stand so long before I get a headache too. I have contacts that are tinted, (iris, pupil) it’s like wearing dark sunglasses all of the time. See the contacts listed ‘Standard Tint’ on the linked page below; this is what I have, in brown as that is my eye color. They made a huge difference for me. I asked my eye doctor about them and now get them every year with my new prescription. Maybe this is an option for you?

    http://www.aldenoptical.com/products/custom-soft/enhancement/tint/

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    • By Nancy Harris Bonk Moderator

      Hi kperry,

      Good to hear you’ve found something to help with light sensitivity, which can be so debilitating. Thank you for sharing!

      Nancy

      reply
  • By glassmind

    These lights are awful. I have special yellow tinted glasses for indoor use. I have 20/20 vision. They are just tinted and polarized. It helps me.

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