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What is the Avulux tinted lens for migraine and light sensitivity?

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I made the decision to bring the Avulux lenses to our patients at Pierce Family Vision on a day when I had a migraine myself. That familiar ache behind my right eye made it difficult to concentrate on what the Avulux rep was saying but I was very interested to try the lenses myself. I have suffered with migraine for 30 years now, seeing patients, raising my children, grocery shopping…often with that familiar pain, light sensitivity and slight nausea. I also speak with patients on a daily basis who are struggling with pain and light sensitivity from migraine.

All migraine patients’ experiences are different by the way. Some don’t even get the headaches, just the 10-20 minutes of visual disturbance or aura. But most suffer from the one sided head pain, nausea and light sensitivity that often come with migraine headaches. And I don’t use the word suffer lightly. It is not pleasant, and on a rare day when I have absolutely no discomfort in my head, I often think “Wow, this feels amazing. Is this what people without headaches feel on a daily basis?”. So I am excited to be able to offer our patients a lens that can be worn indoors (when you aren’t feeling your best due to migraine) to help you get on with your day a little more comfortably.

In the same manner that I recommend Maui Jim sunglasses as being the most comfortable tint you can wear outdoors, Avulux is a tint that can make your day indoors more comfortable. If you are working on a computer all day, or chasing children around, or working with the public in retail or in food service, or seeing patients in a health care setting, we may be able to make your difficult days more comfortable.

The Avulux lenses were designed based on good science to block less comfortable wavelengths of light and let through more comfortable wavelengths. I describe them as my “pajama lenses” that just feel good to wear. The manufacturers don’t claim to reduce the frequency or duration of migraine pain, just to help you cope with life more comfortably.

They are not inexpensive either unfortunately. They come in somewhere between $450-$1050 CAD per pair of lenses depending on the prescription. And they are meant to be an auxiliary pair of glasses, in addition to your clear and sunglass lenses as they cannot be worn for night driving. So only you can determine if the Avulux lens makes sense for you.

If you are reading this and considering the lenses, I encourage you to come in and speak with those of us in the office who are wearing them. As well as me (Dr. Patti Ellison) wearing them around the office, we have Dr. Manvit Singh and two of our optometric assistants Susan and Sarah who are wearing them at the office. We also have a few pairs of fitovers in the Avulux tint to try on over your glasses. The lenses look darker from the front than they do looking through them and they don’t distort colours too much, however wouldn’t be a good choice for photography or graphic design work. The lenses do cosmetically appear a slightly different colour in different lighting due to the specific light filtering technology.

Avulux lenses are now low risk to try out as there is now a 90 day money back guarantee on the lenses. We do ask that you try them for at least 2 weeks to be able to assess their helpfulness. They are available in plano (no prescription) as well as single vision and progressive lens design and are soon to be available in custom clip-ons for your favorite frames.

If you want more information from the Avulux company and technology, the link is here. If you want to speak with people wearing it and be able to try on the tint for yourself then stop by Pierce Family Vision in Waterloo Ontario. If  you haven’t had a recent eye examination then here is a link to make an appointment with one of our optometrists or you can call us at 519-886-4170. Bring all your questions in for us and I hope we can help a few migraine sufferers be more comfortable.

By the way, if  you are very light sensitive but don’t get headaches, feel free to come in to try out the tint as well. You never know…

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Written by Dr. Patti Ellison

Dr. Patti Ellison graduated from the University of Waterloo School of Optometry in 1988. She received the A.W. Cole prize for clinical proficiency. She practiced in Guelph until 1994 when she joined her husband, Dr. Bruce Pierce, here in Waterloo.

Dr. Ellison enjoys the wonderful diversity in her practice with patients of all ages and from all parts of the world. She especially enjoys examining children’s eyes. Children’s exams always start with a ride in the chair, pictures (if they aren’t quite ready for the letters) and the “magic” 3D glasses to check depth perception. We also have ingenious ways of examining babies and Dr. Ellison has cared for many children from their first exam at 6 months of age until they bring in children of their own.

Dr. Ellison also enjoys helping adults with any visual or eye health issues they have such as dry eyes, blepharitis (red, irritated eyes and eyelids), and specialty glasses for things like driving, reading sheet music, working on computers, or anything else task-specific.

Dr. Ellison and Dr. Pierce have 2 grown sons and live in Waterloo. Outside of the office, Dr. Ellison enjoys taking walking holidays in the UK and Ireland.

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