WASHINGTON, D.C. — For Christina Valorose, migraines are a part of life.
“I started suffering from migraines around fifth grade,” she said. “It's very targeted pain in your head.”
Since the pandemic began, Valorose, like many others working from home, found herself staring at a computer screen all day.
“I went from a lot of face-to-face and personal communication to almost completely digital,” she said.
Computers and smartphone screens emit blue light, which can make migraines worse. Dr. Rami Burstein and researchers at Harvard University found that a different light -- green light – can ease migraines. They used that discovery to develop a new, specially-designed lamp to help those suffering from migraines.
“I’ve been pleasantly surprised,” Valorose said.
It’s called the “Allay Lamp” and it emits a specific, narrow bandwidth of green light.
“Different colors of light affect the cells in the back of the retina, which respond to different colors,” said Dr. Stephen Silberstein, a neurologist and director of the Jefferson Headache Center in Philadelphia.
Dr. Silberstein was not involved in the development of the Allay Lamp, but studied how it works.
“A narrow band of green light does not have as much of impact in both the patient and the cells, and actually, paradoxically, this color of light is soothing and relieves pain,” he said, adding that it could help those who regularly deal with migraines.
That could be a game-changer for many. According to The Migraine Institute, more than 35 million Americans suffer from migraines. Most of them are women: 18% of men and 43% of women will experience a migraine at some point in their lives.
Christina Valorose said that after years of trying different prescription medications for migraines, the $150 Allay Lamp, which she ordered online, has been worth it.
“It really it lightens the symptoms, if not shortens the migraine altogether,” she said. “I'll just turn all the lights off, turn on the green lamp, go ahead and get a chore done. So, it was just a small adjustment, but it really improved the quality of your day.”
It also made a difference, she said, in her quality of life.
For more information on the Harvard research into green light migraine therapy, click here.