Photophobia, or light sensitivity, is one of my chronic illness symptoms. Over the last few years it has become progressively more difficult to live with and I have tried many types of glasses to combat the pain. Driving has its difficulties, especially at night, as the newer cars all have these dazzling LED headlights. These cause me sharp spikes of pain, and if the vehicle behind me is higher it becomes unbearable, and I usually pull to the side of the road to let them pass.
Saving energy is a great thing, and protects the environment, but the light emitted by the new low wattage bulbs has caused me problems too, either at home, or in the shops. Escaping from the discomfort is only possible if I have a hermit-like existence, in a darkened home. Living with a constant headache, this sensitivity can push the pain from a 5/10 to an 8/10 over 30 minutes. It is scary how quickly it progresses.
The glasses I have tried have various tints (see the pictures) and the price has been from a few Euros to over €560. Only the sunglasses (Oakley) have been successful in controlling the pain, and they are not suitable to wear all the time. In fact, my ophthalmologist recommended I should avoid doing this as my sensitivity would increase.
Late last year Axon Optics contacted me about doing a review of their glasses which help people with photophobia, and also light triggered migraines. Of course, I was interested in doing a review, but given my previous experiences I expected a limited benefit.
The company sent me a free pair of COVER-RX Lite frames to review. These fit over my existing frames. The lenses I have are Transitions XTRActive progressive lenses with a basic frame. As soon as they arrived, I opened the box and was delighted when they fit comfortably over my glasses. As you can see from the picture, they have a good fit, and I can comfortably wear them all day.
The appearance of the frame is ok, and when I asked various people about what they thought of them, the comments were good.
- The other glasses I have tried to help with my photophobia are:
- Specsavers UltraDrive Tint prescription glasses
- Specsavers Night Driving prescription glasses
- Driving glasses cover
- Transitions Drivewear prescription glasses
- Transitions XTRActive progressive prescription glasses
- Oakley Prescription sunglasses
I have now worn the COVER-RX Lite frames for a week. In this time I have experienced driving in sun, rain, snow and night conditions (Axon don’t recommend wearing tinted glasses for night driving), and also in shops with various types of lighting, and at home with low energy bulbs. As Ireland is on the 53rd parallel, the sun is low in the sky in the winter. This is very challenging when the road is wet as the glare is very intense and the sun visor cannot block the sun.
Given all the various conditions I tested the glasses, they have delighted me. The coating on these lenses has blocked the wavelength of light that causes my photophobia. It has been incredible, as I could drive back from Galway, after an intense physiotherapy session, in the dark and my headache would not get worse. This drive takes about 1.5 hours and has varied driving conditions. Usually, even using either of the special driving glasses I have, my headache would be an 8/10 by the time I arrive home. There was no increase in headache level while using the Axon Optics COVER RX – Lite frames.
They work for me and I can completely recommend them. They solve the problem of photophobia and help me control my daily headaches. It is a great idea that you can get the cheaper COVER RX – Lite frames first to test the effectiveness of the lens coating for you. After that you can use one of their frames, or even provide your own, if you decide to get a standard pair of glasses.
Axon Optics provided me with a free pair of COVER RX – Lite frames for an unbiased review.