Headlights are Not My Friend

Even the tail lights are too bright during a migraine.  I try to avoid driving at night whenever possible because the headlights are painful and blinding.  I wear special glasses that reduce the glare otherwise all I see is bright light drowning out everything else.  The migraines only come a couple of days each week now, and I can manage that.  There was a time when they came virtually every day and driving felt like torture.  I’d keep a bowl or large plastic cup next to me because nausea, my migraines best friend, often resulted in vomiting – yes, while I was driving.

I only drove to take the kids to and from school and to see the doctor.  I couldn’t drive alone at night because I had to close my eyes at stoplights and needed one of my kids to tell me when the light turned green. The tail lights from cars in front of me were too bright, and the headlights from cars on the other side of the intersection flashed in the dark when traffic moved by which exacerbated my feeling of nausea.   It probably wasn’t safe for me to be driving, but there was no other option.  Headlights hurt when shining in my eyes and they will never be my friend.

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Author: Undeniably Sara

Hi, I'm Undeniably Sara. I'm learning how to live well with chronic illnesses by focusing on self-healing with the goal of lifelong health.

21 thoughts on “Headlights are Not My Friend”

  1. I used to get horrible migraines thanks to the birth control I was on at the time, and I remember driving at night was such a chore because even the dimmest of head/taillights was too bright and I was always adjusting my rearview mirror because of it. Sometimes bright lights or bright sunshine would start an ocular migraine, which was terrifying. Luckily, it never happened while I was driving, but it prompted me to speak to a neurologist who recommended I switch pills. Since stopping that particular pill, lights don’t bother me as much. Sure, there are some cars that have super bright head/taillights (and some assholes who tailgate right behind you with their high beams on) and they bother me, but I no longer feel any pain or discomfort from it… Just annoyance.

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  2. Migraine is torture, I can feel with you. But “The migraines only come a couple of days each week now…” is still a lot to suffer. Mine only come three times a month and I can only survive with triptans. When combined with nausea it’s almost unbearable. Hope that it will get better and better for you with time…

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  3. Ugh, yes. Migraines are one of the worst conditions to have. I hope you are able to get adequate rest. I used to get them daily and had to wear tinted glasses to filter out blue wavelengths, and I took Topamax for 2.5 years. The Topamax really helped reduce the frequency and severity.

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    1. I am much better than I was at one time. Sunglasses are one of my best friends and I am familiar with Topamax. I took it for many years and it worked at first but when my migraines where at their worst, nothing helped. I’m glad the medication is helpful for you. It seems we all react differently.

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  4. I don’t know what it’s like to have a migraine, but I have relatives who get them. It must be terrifying have to drive at night, if at all. I’m glad the number you get in a week has decreased.

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    1. I think the nausea is one of the worst parts and light sensitivity just exaserbates everything. I have a filter on my phone and my computer screen. I only drive when necessary. Unfortunately, the schools my kids attend don’t provide bussing and they are several miles away from home. Three kids in three different schools – Ugh! We’ve made it this far…

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  5. I have had both typical migraines, with vomiting, and silent migraines. Both make me sensitive to light, but it is horrible how quickly things like even headlights can trigger yours.

    I don’t know if light outside has ever triggered my typical migraines, but it is the primary trigger for my past silent migraines. I rarely drive at night, but my silent migraines have been quickly triggered by very sunny days, particularly flickering bright lights. I do my best to avoid looking at them.

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    1. The sun is terribly painful – particularly in the mornings and afternoons when it sits low in the sky. Flickering lights – around the holidays – and even from television are awful. Light from a flashlight pointed in my eyes at night hurts enough to make me angry.

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      1. That’s terrible how sensitive you are to lights. As I said, mine is not so very bad, but I also have a little sensitivity even to sound. That’s obviously not related to migraines, though. I guess. Actually sensory sensitivities are not uncommon in people like me with bipolar disorder. It’s very interesting how such sensitivities are had by people with certain health issues. Once I wrote a blog post called “Light can trigger migraines, mania, and/or seizures in some people”. If you’re interested in that post and ever read it, do let me know what you think of it. Feedback on my posts is always welcome.

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  6. I used to get migraines a lot and found them to be food related especially anything with chemicals in it such as MSG. Pork even the smell of it cooking could bring on a migraine, goodness knows what was being added to it. I also got to the point where my body would no longer take the prescribed tablets and vomited it back quicker than swallowing it. I had to analyse the food I was eating prior to migraines and stop eating it. Night driving – I alway looked to the side of the road to follow not at the cars. Adjust the rearview mirror too. Those tail-lights if people would use their handbrake at traffic lights instead of keeping their foot on the brake-pedal this would help. I have been migraine free for a few years now.

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  7. I hate headlights. I find that even when I don’t actively have a migraine I am still super photosensitive. I am also super sensitive to smells all the time too. shrugs Just my weird body being weird.

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    1. I turn the brightness all the way down on my phone and computer AND run the F.lux app in order to be able to look at the screen. I highly recommend downloading F.lux if you haven’t already. It makes using the computer a lot more comfortable.

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