This may be a bit off topic for the usual course of this blog, but I had to share an experience I’ve had in the hopes that it might help someone else. Ever since I was young, I’ve suffered from migraines. For the longest time, the only triggers I could pin down were lack of food and lack of sleep. Then I’d get the headaches randomly even when I ate and slept well which I attributed to no trigger at all. One thing that was very consistent was that nearly every Sunday after church I had a migraine. I could not figure out what at the church might be triggering the migraines except that it had been a long week and maybe I hadn’t slept enough?
Then last year, I volunteered at the city hall setting up exhibits for our town fair. I was at city hall for a good part of four straight days and every day I went home with a migraine. It was horrible. About the third day, all I wanted to do was turn the lights off or go outside where there was sunshine and it dawned on me that maybe the lighting in the building had something to do with my headaches. I thought it was a crazy idea, but then went home and googled it and sure enough, some people get migraines from fluorescent lights. Then I remembered my church headaches–probably the same thing. It was like the little light bulb came on in my brain (and not the energy saving one!).
So I did some more research and found the Moran Eye Center. They have done studies on people with fluorescent-triggered migraines and developed a rose colored tint for glasses called FL-41 that counteracts the effects of the fluorescent lighting. I thought it couldn’t hurt to try the glasses out, so I ordered a cheapo pair of glasses online and sent them up to the Moran Eye Center for tinting. It turns out that not every lens material takes the tint well and whatever polycarbonate stuff the cheap place had made my lenses out of didn’t take it at all, so the Moran Eye Center contacted me and offered to make new lenses for my glasses with the CR-39 material which is the standard plastic lens. It also works best if there are no coatings on the lens like scratch coat or whatever. So I had them make the new lenses which added to my cost, but I was sure glad I didn’t have to go through the hassle of hunting down another pair of glasses with the right lenses in them. Just check if you’re ordering glasses for this tint and see if you can start out with the CR-39 lens. The Moran Eye Center can also make you a full pair of glasses–they’ll just need some information from you to do it. I wear contacts, so I had them build lenses with no prescription to wear over the contact lenses, but they can also build prescription lenses there.
They can apply any amount of tint to the glasses and recommended 35% for indoor use which was what I primarily wanted them for. They also said that if it was too much or not enough I could send them back and they’d adjust the tinting. That is like magic.
When the tint was applied, they called me and let me know they were done and the total cost, then shipped them out to me with the bill. I got them back about a week and a half after I sent them. It might take a little longer if you don’t live as close to them as I do. The total cost of the cheapo glasses, new lenses, tinting, and shipping was around $80. I was thinking this was a pretty pricey experiment. But guess what? It worked.
Now I wear my rose colored FL-41 tinted sunglasses to church and go home every Sunday afternoon fully functional and able to spend the day enjoying my family instead of nursing a migraine and taking a nap. I also wear them other places when I know I’ll be around fluorescent lights. The best part was this fall when I volunteered to set up exhibits at the city hall again and left every day feeling fantastic because I wore the crazy pink sunglasses in the building. Amazing.
I also have a daughter that gets frequent headaches. We just got her some new glasses ordered to adjust her prescription and we’ll see if that makes much of a difference. But guess what they light the school with? Yep, fluorescent lights. So if the new prescription doesn’t cut down the headaches, I’ll be looking to get FL-41 tinted lenses in another pair of glasses for her to wear to school and church because maybe, just maybe, she’s got fluorescent triggered migraines just like her mom. And it would be worth the cost of the glasses if she can have fewer headaches in her life.
So, hopefully you or someone you know can use this information and my experience and have a few fewer headaches to have to deal with.
For more information on the FL-41 tint, check out the Frequently Asked Questions page, the Research History page, or contact the Moran Eye Center–their contact information is at the bottom of every page of their website. This is not a sponsored post, just information I wanted to share because it changed my life. :)
Keep preparing! Angela
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Thank you SO much for sharing! I, too, get migraines, and hadn't really figured out a specific trigger. Earlier this year, my doctor put me on Topimax, and that has been a lifesaver! The number of migraines I experience has dropped drastically, but I still get one every now and again. I'd just about 4 weeks ago figured out that fluorescent lighting will still trigger my migraines! I do wear contacts most of the time, and glasses occasionally, but I will definitely be looking into getting this coating on some lenses.
I've known for about 15 years that those lights can trigger my migraines… and as most work places use them, it becomes difficult to avoid them! Seems it's something to do with the way the gases in them flicker, or similar…
I use Maxalt 10 mlt for the actual migraines, but 1) they knock for me a loop, and 2) they cost about $19 each – but are definitely worth it.
So… rose colored glasses…. who'da thought!
Will definitely look into this.
Wonder if they make a flip type sunglass for people with glasses… that would be what I need…
Toyin O. says
Thanks for sharing; I always wonder what triggers my migraine.
My problem with fluorescent lights is I can hear them! They emit an extremely high pitched fluttering whine. Small ones aren't so bad, but where there's a lot of the longer ones it's killing. There's an under-street tunnel at Chicago's O'Hare Airport, About 100 yards of massive fluorescent lights. I cannot, for the life of me, traverse that tunnel without throwing up! Within a short time of not being around them, I'm fine. No long-term migraines.
One more reason I have about 500 "real" lightbulbs in my storage :) I'm glad you figured it out.
Kevin Count says
FL-41 truly is remarkable. I have several patients I have fit in FL-41 with remarkable results. To those who are interested in lenses with FL-41 remember to find someone with the eqipment (spectrometer) to verify that the appropriate wave lengths of light are being filtered. This is not just a "rose tinted lens".
ann p. says
I would love feedback from others on how effective these glasses are. I just bought some glasses, cute sort of cat-eyed, because I figure I’ll be wearing these a LOT indoors. Now I wear sunglasses much if the time. I’m just afraid the lenses don’t cover enough of my eye as they are pretty skinny/petite. Also what color plastic lens looks best with these? I was thinking red frames (I love red) but then thought it would be “too much.” has anyone had experience getting darker than 35% for true sunglasses? Thanks for any input. I’m also getting mine from the Moran Eye Center.
Ann, you can ask the Moran Eye Center about their recommended tint darkness for outdoors. They recommended the 35% for indoors and it’s worked fine for me, but they also said I could send the glasses back and they could make the tint darker or lighter if I wanted it changed. Hope it goes well for you! :)
I am about to try these special glasses and I am beyond over the moon excited! I’ve had complex migraine disease for 7 years (had migranes for many years before that). I have at least 3 migraines a week, every week. I’ve failed every single drug preventive and abortive and am down to a narcotic to keep me out of the ER. I love my neurologist but we are quickly running out of options. Our next step is botox. I’m HOPING these glasses will do the trick so I can stop living in a dark room all the time and go without the meds!
Thanks for such a positive review–this just makes me more excited! I’m glad you got relief!
Just hoping the glasses worked for you. Please let me know! I have a similar story to yours, except I tried the Botox too, only helped a little. I am desperate to rejoin the living!
Thanks for the post about FL-41 migraine glasses. Being associated with Moran, I know that FL-41 tint is recommended to patients and a majority of them receive relief from the glasses. Additional clinical studies about light sensitivity and migraine are ongoing at the University.
A new website just launched that offers FL-41 tinted glasses online (that why you don’t have to go all the way to the Moran Eye Center at the University of Utah). The website is http://www.AxonOptics.com
Danyce H says
Thank you for writing this blog post! Every time I go to school, I come home with a migraine… I KNOW it is the lighting! I’ve been hunting for glasses I could wear that wouldn’t look silly :) Thank you Thank you!!!
Thanks for your info. I have visual snow and palinopsia in addition to the Fluorescent Light Induced Migraines. If anyone else has these conditions and has received any sort of relief, please let me know. I plan to get tinted glasses tomorrow. At least they will help a portion of my problems. Thanks again!
So happy I found this info! I have a student that suffers from migraines & swears it’s the fluorescent lighting at school. He’s been to numerous doctors & endured several procedures with no results. I told him I’d do some research, so I can’t wait to share this with him! Grateful that you shared it with us!
They have been a life saver for me. I am photosensitive and my eyes were so bad that I thought I would have to quit. I tried this as a last resort and they are just super. Before I could not even go into a large store without my sunglasses on – now I can shop just fine with my rose tinted specs.
Thank you soo much for this info I’m on day 3 of light induced migrain and am desperate to find out about these glasses,as I live my life in my sunnies and am sure everyone thinks I’m extremely vain or over dramatic .I will be purchasing asap thanks
hi what kind of glasses are those? I need to get the lense as well.
Dean, the information on the glasses is in the article. They were just a cheap pair of frames ordered online and the lenses were made by the Moran Eye Center in Salt Lake City, UT.
I have been developing this sensitivity for a month, and there is no way I can go for a minute into a store with fluorescent lights. I can´t stand car lights either, sunlight is tolerable and most regular bulbs. I am very excited to try these. Many thanks. Erna, Bay Area, CA
FL-41 tint is indeed a good option for photosensitivity, but was not “developed” by Moran as the original poster stated. It is simply a therapeutic dye used to tint lenses, made by BPI, and any reputable optical outlet can get it, and use it in their office if they have a tint unit in the lab!
Helen in HI says
This is certainly a long-lived post. I found it because after eight years I finally got to see a neurologist about my migraines and she recommended I look into the FL-41. It is pretty frustrating that no other doctor has mentioned that such a thing existed. I already emailed Moran but it has been two days and they haven’t responded so I figured I would try to find other dealers. Any suggestions?
I haven’t tried contacting anyone since I had these glasses made. My optometrist said they could get the tint on glasses, but they would just be sending them to the Moran Eye Center to get it done as well. There may be some kind of patent issue? So I’m not sure if there are dealers or resellers for this without ending up back at the Moran Eye Center. I’d email again or try calling them.