Monday, March 14, 2011

Migraine: Are You Wearing Your Sunglasses At Night?

There are not too many pictures of me without my shades in the last few years. It’s a common joke for friends and family to ponder whether or not, my future is that bright. I often wonder about that as well. Future or not, the simple fact is that I have a severe light sensitivity. Day or night, candle or headlight, have me wincing and turning away and cringing with the fear of the onslaught of another migraine.
Light sensitivity is a very common symptom of migraine sufferers and being light sensitive does not mean that I already have a headache or that it is coming on. Bright light is one of my triggers, but I know that the “triggers do not ‘cause’ the migraine. Instead, they are now thought to activate processes that cause migraine in people who are prone to the condition. For many people like me, light can be an enemy.
I have found the following ways to help prevent light from triggering a migraine. I try to wear a dark colored hat with a brim when I go outside in the sunlight. The darker the color, the more light is absorbed by the hat before it reaches my eyes. This is the same philosophy as athletes using black under their eyes to help them see.
I put my sun visor down and adjust the driver side mirror slightly to the left, when driving at night. This allows me to position my eyes to just focus below oncoming headlights. I can keep my eyes on the road without being blinded. Adjusting the driver side mirror allows me to prevent headlights behind me from sneaking up on me, or constantly blinding me (especially when THAT car stays in my so-called blind spot and will not pass me). Adjusting the rear view mirror to the night-time setting (usually there is a lever to flip it up) also helps.
And, I wear my sunglasses at night, and day. Not when I’m driving (well, sometimes I do). When I am in a restaurant, bible class at church, the mall, or out shopping I typically wear my shades. I don’t care if others think I am stupid, or if they think I think, I’m too cool. It’s better than the possible consequences. Walmart is the worst place for potential triggers, as the lighting is typically fluorescent and too bright (Not to mention the stress and the frequency that I walk into obtrusive odors).
If you have another “light” tip, please share.