Are You Experiencing Light Sensitive Migraines?

Monique Brasher, Writer

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If bright sunlight gives you a headache, you may actually be experiencing a light-sensitive migraine attack. Many people associate migraine with being just a headache, but a migraine is a neurological condition with symptoms that include light sensitivity, nausea, visual dysfunction or aura, etc. Sunlight is also constantly reported as a trigger for migraine so you are not wrong if you think the sun causes a headache for you. As many as 67% of people with migraines stay in bright light as a trigger, according to a recent survey. The effect can be immediate.


Research has shown that it can take as little as 5 to 10 minutes of being out in the sun to lead to a headache or migraine attack for those who are sensitive. People prone to light-induced migraine episodes generally have a lower threshold for light. The light of an overcast and cloudy day can be enough to cause pain. Even normal levels of light exposure—much less bright days can lead to headaches and other migraine symptoms. The tolerance for light can also be lower between attacks making people more sensitive even when they are not in pain. This means a person may not immediately have a headache while outside, but it may be building. If you don’t have an immediate headache or migraine from the sun, the effect of sunlight exposure over time can be just as damaging.The longer you stay outside, the more likely you may develop a headache.  Protect your eyes with polarized sunglasses. The polarization minimizes the amount of glare and reflection that enters the eyes. It also makes the lenses inherently darker, which can reduce migraine attacks and headaches.