Special Tinted Glasses May Stymie Migraines05/26/11
THURSDAY, May 26 (HealthDay News) -- Precision-tinted glasses
seem to help prevent migraines in people whose pain is triggered by
certain visual patterns, new research indicates.
Up to 42 percent of people who have migraines accompanied by
visual "aura," such as flashes of light, may benefit, says Jie
Huang, lead author of a study appearing in the May 26 issue of the
Precision-tinted lenses have been used since the 1990s in
Britain to help people who are "poor readers," a condition which
can have symptoms similar to those of dyslexia.
Researchers have already noted that certain striped patterns can
cause migraines in people with aura and even seizures in patients
who have epilepsy that involves light sensitivity.
For this study, Huang and his colleagues assessed 11 people with
migraines and 11 without the headaches using a functional MRI
machine, which captures brain activity in real time. They wanted to
see if tinted glasses normalized brain activity in the people who
get the pounding headaches.
All participants were asked to look at "stressful" striped
patterns (high-contrast stripes a certain distance apart) through
three different pairs of glasses, one of which was
The tinted glasses were individualized for each patient so they
would experience the most comfort and least distortion of the
The researchers noted a normalization of brain activity in
migraineurs wearing the tinted glasses while they were looking at
the different patterns. The specific type of brain activity is
known as hyperactivation and is present when migraines are
Participants with a history of migraines also reported less
discomfort (by about 70 percent compared with 40 percent for the
other lenses) when looking at the patterns through tinted
The glasses used here are "regular glasses with precision tints"
and can be used as often or as little as the person wants, said
Huang, who is an associate professor of radiology at Michigan State
University in East Lansing.
This is the first time that scientists have been able to come up
with a neurological explanation for why tinted glasses work in
preventing migraines, the authors stated. Their research was funded
by the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
But, don't put on your rose-colored glasses to prevent migraines
"This is an interesting study, but I would have to see more data and more people," said Dr. Carmen Ramirez, an assistant professor of internal medicine in the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine in Bryan. "It's a start to more research. It's applicability would have to be explored further."
The Mayo Clinic has more on
Copyright © 2011
. All rights reserved.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.