We bought and scientifically tested all of the best migraine glasses and in this article, we’re going to go over exactly what we found! So if you’re looking for a good pair, you’re in the right place!
Migraine glasses are specifically designed to filter out certain wavelengths of light that are more triggering for those who experience light sensitivity or photophobia.
Normal blue blockers and FL-41 lenses only focus on blocking blue light, which does help, but it completely ignores the red half of the spectrum. Research shows red light can also be an aggravating factor and therefore should not be overlooked.
Green light, used therapeutically, can be soothing and even decreases the number of headaches experienced by chronic migraine sufferers. This works with lenses designed to allow a majority of green light to pass through to your eyes.
Comparing Migraine Glasses
We chose to put the top migraine glasses to the test by determining what spectrums of light they actually filtered, how this affected CRI or color distortion, and also overall dimness or reduction in lux input.
The main component of any migraine glasses would be the colors of light that the lenses filter out. As we know, ideally we should be looking at glasses that filter both red and blue wavelengths.
All of the glasses I present to you today accomplish this task… although in their own unique ways (and not including Theraspecs which are just a good pair of blue blockers but we’ll get to that).
As you can imagine, wearing green-tinted glasses all day might interfere with your day-to-day activities.
Well, we tested the CRI of full spectrum light passing through each lens so you can decide for yourself which one might be right for you.
The Color Rendering Index (CRI) is used to measure how light affects our ability to see different colors.
The lower the CRI the less vibrant or true to tone they are.
Each of these lenses uses either some kind of film or filtering technology to block reds, blues, etc and this affects our perception of color. Simply put, if our eyes don’t receive the color information, our brains don’t have the ability to show it in our vision.
We will have examples of the shift in CRI for each lens below.
Now, this category wasn’t crucial but I did see some people complain about how some of these glasses act like “sunglasses” and are too dark for constant indoor use. The main worry here is that your eyes will “dark adapt.”
Dark Adapt: the idea that constant exposure to dim or darker light sources will increase overall sensitivity to light stimulus
Some people who experience photophobia with their migraines will find more relief in a higher lux reduction, so this doesn’t have to be a negative. A 2016 study in the journal Brain does indicate that dimmer green light exposure leads to more potent results.
I think it becomes more of an issue if you plan on wearing your glasses all day every day instead of only at trigger-specific moments, or during the early stages of a migraine attack.
We’ll go over the reduction in lux – or light – for each of these glasses so you can determine which one best suits your needs.
The Best Migraine Glasses
Now, without further ado, here are my top picks for the best migraine glasses on the market today!
The MigraLens Migraine Glasses are my favorite option and the ones that we have determined are best for acute use during migraine attacks.
Migralens glasses filter out approximately 88% of blue light and 91% of red light.
As we can see in the spectrum below, this leaves us with a green peak of around 518 nanometers; which puts us on par with other green light therapy devices that operate around 525 nanometers.
But they also block a lot of the light in general, making the world dimmer. See all the white space in between our color spectrum and the standard light base outline? That’s about an 80% reduction in lux, so they do darken the world like sunglasses.
This is perfect for when that migraine strikes and you need some relief; but maybe not for all-day everyday use.
Due to the larger amounts of green light that are able to filter through the lens, there is a green tint to your vision – as you can see in the comparison below. The CRI is therefore reduced by around 60%.
This may seem jarring and you might think you won’t like it, but I can tell you that your eyes will adjust. After a while, you’ll completely forget your world used to be a lot pinker!
Backed by Science
But don’t just take my word for it!
MigraLens has a study that was published in the peer-reviewed journal Headache Care that followed 25 adult participants using their glasses.
The study concluded that there was a notable decrease in headache intensity as the baseline score at the start was considered “severe”, and by the conclusion it had improved to “moderate.”
You can check out their full research page on their website here.
I also just have to say that I personally wore these glasses when I was recently struck by a rather nasty headache. It was the middle of the day and as soon as I put on these glasses I noticed a difference.
I really appreciated how dim they were as, even with my eyes closed, the ambient light in my room was way too much. I also got used to the green tint after a while and it didn’t feel discombobulating or irritating. On the contrary, I felt quite soothed.
I ended up taking a long nap (with the glasses on which I’m not sure if I should have done but I did NOT want to take them off) and when I woke up, my headache wasn’t gone but the intensity of the pain had abated quite significantly.
Even with the high-tier Avulux lenses at my disposal, in the heat of pain, I reached for the MigraLens glasses. Only after the majority of the photophobia abated, I switched to the Avulux in an attempt to stay awake enough to still get some work done.
Find the right MigraLens for you!
For best results:
Put on your MigraLens glasses at the first sign of a headache/migraine.
You can also choose to wear them in any bright light or as frequently as you wish.
2. Avulux/Axon Optics
Our best option for overall prevention is Avulux and their affiliated brand Axon Optics. Both of these companies use the same filtering technology to bring you a lens that doesn’t sacrifice your color perception. But you do pay top dollar for it!
Avulux decided it was going to be a little more surgical in its approach by cutting out only those wavelengths which are shown to be the most harmful – blues around 480 nm and ambers around 590.
This does work and they are technically accurate, but you still get a lot of red and higher-frequency blue lights coming through. They do this in the name of color distortion which we will get to a little later on.
I did notice a discrepancy in their claims of how much color was filtered by their lenses versus what we were able to measure. They claim to filter 90% of blue light and 97% of amber/red light. We only saw a decrease of 73% and 24% respectively…
Migralens was much closer to the 90% decrease in red and blue light and you can see the difference in spectrums yourselves. So, take that as you will.
Another crowning feature for Avulux is it only has about a 54% reduction in lux, as opposed to the 80% reduction in MigraLens.
AxonOptics in their blog actually calls out MigraLens for being too dark and warns this can cause people to “dark adapt” or make their eyes even more sensitive to light by being in the dark too long.
This can be a valid concern, but if you already suffer from photophobia during a migraine, the dimmer the environment the better. So Avulux might work better for long-term prevention rather than acute migraine relief.
Avulux puts the money where its mouth is at giving you an effective lens with only 32% reduction in CRI vs MigraLens reduction of 60%.
As you can see, the integrity of the colors remains rather true while just making the world a little bit dimmer. This is much better for everyday use or if you need to wear them out and about in public.
Backed by Science
Avulux definitely has the most science backing it up and they have the most trials of any migraine glasses brand that I could find.
They did a study in 2016 where they unintentionally discovered that by blocking both 480nm light and 620nm light they could improve headache intensity scores. This lead them to develop the special lenses they have now.
They followed up this intel with a Clinical Trial in 2020 which proved the efficacy of their new lenses by comparing them to clear ones. The results showed that their lenses were “statistically and clinically superior” to the clear shams.
If you are looking for the best of the best migraine glasses that have been put to the test, look no further than Avulux! They come at a high cost but the results are priceless.
For best results:
Wear your Avulux glasses continuously throughout the day/night, especially if you are on your computer, watching tv, or doing other light-triggering activities.
Or you can choose to wear them selectively during the day; but absolutely at the first sign of a migraine/headache.
3. GloFX Color Therapy Glasses
These green-tinted glasses from GloFX are the cheapest option I could find, while still holding up against our scientific scrutiny. They’re not amazing but if you’re tight on budget, these can help you find relief!
As we can see from the spectrum below, GloFX color therapy glasses do filter some of the higher wavelength blue lights and a lot of the red spectrum.
Unfortunately, their spectral peak is still in the bluer range near that dangerous 480nms. But, they do filter enough of the blue (68%) and red (83%) overall and they are dim enough that they will aid against photophobia.
These lenses offer a 60% reduction in overall lux which is just a bit more than the Avulux’s at 54%. So you don’t have to worry too much about “dark adapting” with these lenses.
Much like the MigraLens, the GloFX will give a bluish-green tint to the world. You may or may not find this desirable, but I can also tell you your vision will adapt as you wear them so it doesn’t stay annoying for long.
Just for funsies, and because they’re similar, here is the comparison between the view from the MigraLens and the GloFX. You’ll see how much bluer the GloFX lenses are.
These lenses do not have any science that I could find to back them up other than the general knowledge that filtering red and blue wavelengths can help against photophobia and pain perception in migraines.
They are technically just a cheap pair of party glasses but they are advertised as “color therapy glasses” and there are reviews on the website and on Amazon where people claim they work.
If you need a budget option, these are the ones I would choose.
For best results:
Wear at the onset of a headache/migraine.
Or wear them whenever you are engaging in light-triggering activities.
4. Honorable Mention – Theraspecs
Theraspecs are technically FL-41 lens blue blockers. They don’t leave quite enough green to be in the realm of “green light therapy” but that’s not to say that this discounts them as “migraine glasses.” They do provide relief.
I only include the Theraspecs in this review to illustrate the changes in the migraine glasses market; and how, as we continue to discover the benefits of green light exposure, we will move beyond just blue-blocking glasses.
FL-41 filters used to be the height of light sensitivity technology. In fact, Avulux used to sell this type of lens before they developed their new green light ones.
They block mainly blues and even filter out some greens because they thought these were the most harmful. But, we know better now.
However, because they do in fact filter blue light in the 480nm range (71%), they are still effective at reducing light sensitivity and improving migraine pain. They also do block around 14% of the red, so not much but a little bit!
Much like the Avulux, Theraspecs also decrease lux by around 54%, although this is technically for their “indoor” model. They also have an “outdoor” version that acts more like sunglasses and decreases lux by 90%.
So that’s another perk of the Theraspecs in that they offer an indoor and an outdoor version to decrease your photophobia no matter where you are.
Technically speaking, these have the best CRI of all the glasses since the reduction is only about 11%, whereas the Avulux is 32%.
Again, because they’re rather similar we will also look at a comparison between the lenses of the Theraspecs and Avulux. Notice the more rosy tint to the FL-41 Theraspecs vs a more subtle greenish hue to the Avulux.
Doesn’t the green just seem a little more pleasant? A little more soothing?
Backed by Science
There’s a study in the journal Headache that follows 20 schoolchildren who use the FL-41 rose-tinted glasses to decrease their frequency of headaches. This was measured against other children with blue-tinted glasses.
4 children from the blue group dropped out early, and only 1 child in the rose group failed to wear their glasses for the full 8 hours every day. Guess the blue kids didn’t find much use for them huh?
The results showed that the frequency of migraines improved after 4 months of daily wear, but the intensity and attack duration was not affected.
This could possibly be because they still allowed in the red spectrum and also cut back on that healing green light. Studies on green light therapy show that it improves headache frequency and intensity/duration.
If you find yourself having to work in front of screens all day long and feel like your eyeballs are strained, these glasses are a great option! They won’t interfere much with your color perception and workability so they’re perfect for everyday use.
For best results:
Wear whenever you are engaged in light-triggering activities – especially in regards to TVs, laptops, phones, tablets, fluorescent lighting, LEDs, etc.