- •Migraine is associated with photophobia, an abnormal intolerance to light.
- •Light stimulates intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (IPRGCs).
- •We designed an optical notch filter to reduce direct stimulation of IPRGCs.
- •Our objective was to determine if wearing the filter could reduce migraine impact.
- •Thin-film optical notch filters may be useful in treating chronic migraine.
Previous evidence suggests optical treatments hold promise for treating migraine and photophobia. We designed an optical notch filter, centered at 480 nm to reduce direct stimulation of intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells. We used thin-film technology to integrate the filter into spectacle lenses. Our objective was to determine if an optical notch filter, designed to attenuate activity of intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells, could reduce headache impact in chronic migraine subjects. For this randomized, double-masked study, our primary endpoint was the Headache Impact Test (HIT-6; GlaxoSmithKline, Brentford, Middlesex, UK). We developed two filters: the therapeutic filter blocked visible light at 480 nm; a 620 nm filter was designed as a sham. Participants were asked to wear lenses with one of the filters for 2 weeks; after 2 weeks when no lenses were worn, they wore lenses with the other filter for 2 weeks. Of 48 subjects, 37 completed the study. Wearing either the 480 or 620 nm lenses resulted in clinically and statistically significant HIT-6 reductions. However, there was no significant difference when comparing overall effect of the 480 and 620 nm lenses. Although the 620 nm filter was designed as a sham intervention, research published following the trial indicated that melanopsin, the photopigment in intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells, is bi-stable. This molecular property may explain the unexpected efficacy of the 620 nm filter. These preliminary findings indicate that lenses outfitted with a thin-film optical notch filter may be useful in treating chronic migraine.
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Published online: February 27, 2016
Accepted: September 29, 2015
Received: February 9, 2015
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.