Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain condition that affects about 4 million adults in the United States. It is characterized by widespread pain, fatigue, and other symptoms that can significantly reduce a person’s quality of life.
Unfortunately, there are few effective treatments for fibromyalgia, and patients often rely on opioids to manage their pain. However, opioids are associated with significant risks, including addiction, overdose, and other adverse effects.
In a recent study presented at the Anesthesiology 2022 annual meeting, researchers found that wearing green-light eyeglasses for several hours a day may help reduce pain-related anxiety and decrease the need for opioids in fibromyalgia patients.
The Study and Its Findings
The study involved 34 fibromyalgia patients who were randomized to wear various shades of eyeglasses for four hours a day for two weeks. Ten patients wore blue eyeglasses, 12 wore clear eyeglasses, and 12 wore green eyeglasses.
Although reported pain levels remained the same in all groups, the participants who wore green eyeglasses were four times more likely to have reduced anxiety and reduced opioid use than those in the other groups.
The Benefits of Green Eyeglasses for Fibromyalgia Patients
The study’s findings suggest that green eyeglasses could provide a non-drug option to help manage pain and anxiety and improve quality of life in fibromyalgia patients and possibly others with chronic pain.
It is suspected that certain wavelengths of green light may stimulate the pain management pathways in the brain.
Some potential benefits of green-light eyeglasses include:
- Reduced anxiety: Fibromyalgia patients often experience anxiety, which can exacerbate their pain and other symptoms. Green eyeglasses could help reduce anxiety and improve patients’ overall quality of life.
- Decreased opioid use: Overuse of pain medication is often closely linked to anxiety. By reducing anxiety, green-light eyeglasses may reduce the compulsion to use opioids.
- Easy to use: Green eyeglasses are a simple and affordable intervention that patients can use at home without the need for medical supervision.
Other Chronic Pain Conditions That Could Benefit from Green Eyeglasses
The researchers are studying the potential benefits of green eyeglasses for patients with other chronic pain conditions, such as migraine headaches and neuropathic pain.
These conditions share similar biological mechanisms with fibromyalgia, and green eyeglasses could provide a non-drug option to help manage pain and anxiety.
The eyeglasses used in this study are specially formulated to filter a specific wavelength on the green light spectrum. These custom glasses may not be the same as other green glasses that can be currently purchased in stores. But as research continues to explore the potential benefits of green light, prescription green eyeglasses may soon be widely available for this purpose.