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Can Led Lights Give You Headache?

Last updated on January 6th, 2023 at 12:06 pm

Can LED lights give you headache? Researchers have found that LEDs trigger both migraines, and possibly even eye damage. Let’s find out why…

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People who are regularly exposed to LED lights often wonder if LED lights trigger headache. As a more energy efficient alternative to compact fluorescent and traditional incandescent bulb, LED lights have gained huge popularity.

LED is a semiconductor light source that stands for light-emitting diode. With the progress of lighting technology, the universality of photophobia and LED light sensitivity is on the rise.

LED bulbs don’t easily get hot, emits bright artificial light and is tremendously energy efficient. However, the blue light emitted from the LED bulbs is also linked to triggering migraine episodes.

Can LED lights cause ocular migraines?

Ocular migraine is a rare phenomenon that generally happens along with or before migraine headache. Ocular migraine can result in blindness or vision loss in one eye for less than one hour.

In the medical field ocular migraine is also referred to as retinal or visual ophthalmic. A French health report suggests that continual exposure to blue light emitted by the LEDs can cause sleep disturbances and eye damage.

Other studies have also derived that blue wavelengths can help the onset of headache, migraine episodes, eye strain and various other symptoms.

Experts believe strobe like flickering of certain LED lights can definitely lead to higher frequency of headaches and more intense migraine pains.

Although regular exposure to a smartphone which is a lower light source will not have such debilitating effects. But continual exposure can cumulatively result is some form of vision degradation.

Can led strip lights cause headaches?

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LED strip lights are comparatively recent in the market and have versatile use. To make a strip of LED lights, several individual LED emitters are mounted on strip of a circuit board that is flexible.

The metric lumens help determine the different levels of LED strip’s brightness. In a study conducted by Vision Research reports that LED strip lights can trigger headaches because they flicker a lot.

100% lights dim with each flicker of the light strip. This can cause migraine attacks by disturbing the eye’s movement control, which makes the brain work harder.

Can LED light strips cause health problems?

As is discussed in the article before, high proportion of blue light wavelengths can adversely affect your health. LED light sources can cause migraine headaches, eye problems and eye strain.

The high intensity blue light disrupts our biological sleep rhythm and can potentially damage our retinas. This is the reason paediatric doctors recommend that children should not be allowed to sit in front of computer screens for a prolonged period.

Experts suggest that people should avoid looking at LED light strips for extended periods. Many ophthalmologists ask people to take breaks at regular intervals when watching TV or working on the computer.

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 When should you not use LED lights?

With the gradual decline in popularity of CFL lighting and incandescent bulbs in the market, LEDs are gradually becoming the standard light source everywhere. In many sectors LED has the market monopoly when it comes to contemporary fluorescent lighting technology.

Blue light produces a hormone in our eyes called melanopsin. It helps regulate alertness and circadian rhythm in the human body. Natural light has significant amount of blue light when day breaks.

As evening comes our body’s natural expectation is diminished blue light exposure. Our natural biological clock gets disrupted as we continue to use LED devices after sunset.

This raises concern that the excessive exposure to blue light at unnatural hours will continue the production of melanopsin and disrupt our sleep cycle.

Exposure to LED light before going to sleep also disbalances the production of melatonin. This controls the human body’s sleep wake cycle.

The blue light from smart phones or other LED devices mimics natural day light. So, using any such devices close to bedtime keeps your mind alert and disrupts your sleep cycle.

LED light sensitivity symptoms

Light sensitivity also called photophobia, is a condition in which subjection to lighting sources results in eye pain or discomfort. The visual receptors inside the eyes are stimulated for a long period.

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For migraine sufferers this a very common concurrent problem. Bright light or white light generally have higher wavelength of blue light.

This means classroom and office lights can also cause LED light sensitivity symptoms.

Some of the most common symptoms of light sensitivity that affect the quality of life, are as follows:

  • Migraines
  • Headaches
  • Loss of concentration and focus
  • Pressure and swelling of eyes
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Nausea
  • Bright coloured spots in the vision path
  • Feeling exposure to normal light is too much
  • Vertigo or dizziness
  • Excessive eye squinting or blinking
  • Burning and watery eyes

Best led light color for headaches

Blue, green and red light are transmitted by all light sources by varying intensity. The different colours of light are processed by our retina for image recognition.

The LED lights trigger detrimental headaches as they transmit425 to 500 nm of blue light. And they spike at around 455nm, which is quite close to natural blue light’s sensitivity point.

This explains why brightly lit spaces like educational institutes, medical facilities and big box store trigger migraine symptoms in some people.

In a research conducted by the Harvard Medical School it was discovered that green light remarkably reduces migraine headache and photophobia.

How to stop headaches from fluorescent lights

Fluorescent lights are most commonly used in grocery stores, retail stores, schools and offices. Comparatively they are cheaper than LED lights and have versatile lighting types.

A chemical reaction that produces UV light is the light source of all fluorescent lights. Both fluorescent lights and LED lights can trigger headache, migraine symptoms, and blurry vision.

Like the LED lights the fluorescent lights also has a flicker that itself is a trigger for migraine attacks. Even if the fluorescent lights are covered with frosted shades the flicker will create problems for the ones that are light sensitive.

That is why it is best to remove all fluorescent lights from the work area. If that is not possible then here are some ways to deal with fluorescent light:

  • Use a desk lamp: Use the desk lamp to light up a smaller area on the desk and avoid being under big fluorescent lights.
  • Burned out light bulbs: In a work environment recommend everyone to use the burned-out light bulb instead of installing a new fluorescent light.
Can LED lights give you a headache?

How do you protect your eyes from fluorescent lights?

Fluorescent bulbs and tubes have been known to trigger headache pain for people that suffer from light sensitivity. The flickering fluorescent light is considered among common migraine triggers.

The human eye is sensitive to fluorescent wavelengths of light, which can cause a cluster headache. People who suffer from regular migraine episodes and light sensitivity tend to isolate themselves into a dark room.

 If you are curious about how to deal with adverse health affects of exposure to fluorescent lights, then there are ways to reduce the impact. 

Below listed are some better alternative precautionary ways to protect yourself from fluorescent lights:

  • Light of high or low intensities is not the problem, the issue lies with wavelength of light. While a narrow band of green light is actually soothing for the eyes, blue light creates adverse results.

Patients suffering from light sensitivity should opt for rose coloured glasses or glasses with UV and blue light filter.

  • To avoid eye strain, adopt 20/20/20 rule to relax your eyes. For every 20 minutes that you are exposed to fluorescent or an LED lamp, rest your eyes only for 20 seconds by focusing your eyes on something that is 20 feet away.
  • Incorporate a lot of fresh and dark green vegetables in your diet. Symptoms of light sensitivity can be reduced by consuming kale, collards, kale and other such green vegetables.

FAQ relating to can led lights give you headaches

Why are my LED lights giving me a headache?

Mostly LED lights are considered to be superior to incandescent lights and fluorescent lamps. To prevent electric and fire hazards many governments are slowly shifting to LEDs.

The downside of exposure to LED light is the numerous human health conditions that re associated with it. All LED devices contain a substantial amount of blue light that messes with our biological clock and triggers various migraine symptoms.

The constant flickering of many LED lights can also be hazardous to your eyes and disrupt your sleep cycle.

Why do fluorescent lights make me feel weird?

The compact fluorescents flickering has adverse effect on the human eye and strain the retina. This can produce symptoms of double vision, eye movement dysfunction, headache, dizziness, and nausea.

Over exposure to fluorescent lights regularly leads to greater rates of head pain and other symptoms of light sensitivity.

What color should I turn my LED lights if I have a headache?

Modern LED lights gives us the option to choose which colors of light we are subjected to. It’s been discovered that at a certain wavelength of green light can greatly reduce migraine pain.

Green light also diminishes the symptoms of light sensitivity to a great extent. For people who regularly suffer from debilitating headaches specialized lenses or glasses with blue light filtering is recommended.

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