Thursday, September 30, 2010

Could it be this simple?

One of the message boards I frequent has a lot of other migraine sufferers who post there -- it's not a migraine board per se, but lots of us get them so it's a topic that comes up pretty frequently. I was browsing topics there today when I saw a post that caught my attention. It said, "Migraine sufferers, could your light bulbs be to blame?" And it contained a link to this brief article from 2008:
Sure, we know you want to do your part for the planet and all that jazz, but what if conserving energy is killing you? Okay, well, it might not be killing you, but according to a new report out of the UK, it's possible that those new-fangled fluorescent bulbs everyone is telling you to buy these days may be aggravating your migraines, making you nauseous, or causing you physical pain (if you've got lupus). The Daily Mail says that because the bulbs work in the same fashion as typical fluorescent bulbs (which can be irritating to some), the subtle flickering inherent to the technology can cause problems. Britain's Migraine Action Association director Paul Jansen said, "For some people a migraine attack can be triggered by fluorescent lights, video screens, stroboscopic effects and flashing lights." And added that, "We hope that the Government will allow regular light bulbs still to be available to those who need them." On the flip side, compact fluorescent supporters say only older technology or low-energy bulbs have flickering issues, and that new models being produced are clear of problems. Surely that may be the case -- but we need something to blame this stabbing eye pain on.
It would sure make sense -- my headaches have dramatically increased in the last couple of years, during which I have also switched the vast majority of light bulbs at home over to compact fluorescents (to save both money and energy). The majority of my headaches used to start mid-day (when I was coincidentally at work under fluorescent lights), whereas now I get them any time of the day or night. My exposure to fluorescents was also previously limited to my work hours, and now it's basically any time I am awake.

I need to do a lot more research, and even from a cursory Google search it seems the jury's out on the nexus between whatever flickering there might be in compact fluorescent bulbs and migraine headaches, but it sure makes me wonder.