I am really sensitive to light, especially certain types of light…ok, never mind… all types of light.
While living in my house (before I sold it), I struggled to find a way to light my living room that didn’t aggravate that light sensitivity and set off migraines. Moving into an RV actually helped in a lot of ways because I’m able to easily light the room without harsh overhead lights.
Over the last few years I’ve found a few things that have helped me deal with light sensitivity and as a result I’ve had fewer migraines and generally less issues with light overall.
6 Tips for Dealing with Light Sensitivity
1. Avoid it
The obvious answer, but seriously not the most helpful. I mean we can’t just live in a dark room all the time. Although, there are times I’d certainly like to. I actually enjoy a well lit room and prefer natural light over the harshness of unnatural light (of any kind).
Unfortunately, when it gets dark at 5pm unnatural light is necessary but there are ways to light a room without setting your head on fire.
2. Use indirect lights
I’ve found that the key to lighting a room in a way that doesn’t cause pain is indirect light. There are a few ways to provide indirect light that can allow you to see without shining a bright light in your eyes.
- Avoid lights at eye level
Light hitting me right in the eye is the worst and the most likely to cause a migraine. Driving right at sunset in the spring and fall seems to almost guarantee that I will have the sun shining around the edge of my sunglasses and into my eyes. I used to have a reading lamp that was so cute, but it was at just the worst height so that if I tried to use it it cast light directly into my eyes. I even tried putting it behind me but somehow it still managed to hit me right in the eye. Like most of my lamps it ended up staying off.
- Place strategic uplights
Uplights are a great way to indirectly light a room. You can sit them behind larger objects to block the direct light while allowing them to light the room from the floor level. I found some cheap uplights that I used behind the couch and the TV to gently light my living room.
- Schedule strip lights
When I was still in my house I found these dimmable LED string lights. Even at full power they are dim enough to not bother me. They were attractive and provided enough light to not leave me sitting in the dark.
When we moved into the RV, I didn’t really like any of the built-in lighting options. There were the usual harsh overhead lights that we almost never use, then there were small reading lights strategically placed above the sitting areas and above the bed. Those were also too bright/harsh to leave on. Once again I went for strip lights. This time I found these color-changing strip lights that could be scheduled and operated from my phone.
3. Go tinted
Tint laws vary from state to state, but I would definitely suggest tinting your car windows as much as possible. The truck we use to pull our RV has very tinted windows in the front. They are dark enough that I rarely need sunglasses when in the truck.
4. Use sun visors
I will not buy a car that doesn’t have sun visors that can be moved so that they block light from the side windows (when necessary). The worst pain for me is when sun hits me from the side of my eye. I don’t know why it is, but that will cause a migraine faster than anything.
When I’m travelling north or south I have to move my sun visors to block light from the east or west (depending on the time of the day). If you are in the car with me you’ll usually have me asking you to adjust the visor accordingly.
5. Use blue light blockers
Studies have found the blue light emitted by electronic screens (and even the sun) is a major contributor to light sensitivity and photophobia. If you find that your eyes are sensitive to the light emitted from screens, use a blue light filter.
Most devices come with one pre-installed that can be set to turn on/off automatically at certain times. Even if your device is older you can download apps to do the job, or buy external blue light filters to block those lights.
6. Get Rosy
Even the sun emits blue light… but there are filters you can buy for that, too. Specially tinted lenses, like the ones I wear from Theraspecs can make a huge difference.
Since I began wearing Theraspecs tinted lenses the number of migraines I get has drastically reduced. I do have to be careful, tho, to avoid using the built-in blue light filters in my devices and wearing my Theraspecs at the same time (too much of a good thing will also cause me eye strain).
I also find that when it’s really overcast outside that sometimes my Theraspecs are just too dark. I still have a pair of un-tinted glasses in my prescription for those days.
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- Can Wearing Rose Colored Glasses Decrease Migraines?