Researchers have discovered that wearing special green eyeglasses for several hours a day reduces pain-related anxiety. This treatment can potentially decrease the need for opioids to manage severe pain for patients managing pain and anxiety symptoms due to fibromyalgia or other debilitating disorders. The study was presented at the Anesthesiology 2022 annual meeting.
The study included 34 fibromyalgia patients who wore various shades of eyeglasses four hours a day for two weeks. 10 patients wore blue eyeglasses, 12 wore clear eyeglasses and 12 wore green eyeglasses. The custom-formulated green eyeglasses filter a specific wavelength on the green light spectrum. The study found that patients who wore green eyeglasses were four times more likely to have reduced anxiety than those in the other groups. Those wearing blue or clear eyeglasses did not experience a reduction in anxiety. Although the study found their pain scores of all participants remained the same, those who wore the green eyeglasses used fewer opioids. Most patients reported feeling better and wanted to keep wearing the green eyeglasses.
Lead study author and executive vice chair of Duke Anesthesiology and Duke Health Dr. Padma Gulur emphasized a critical need for alternatives to opioid-based pain management plans. Gulur stated, “Our research found that certain wavelengths of green light stimulate the pathways in the brain that help manage pain.” Green eyeglasses are an easy, convenient non-drug option.
Exploration of the association of vision changes and anxiety can lead to discovery of new non-drug alternatives. Another recent study published in Nature also indicated that anxiety levels moderate visual acuity. Since current opioid alternatives for patients with severe and chronic pain conditions are limited, the use of customized eyeglasses and other vision devices may provide relief for those managing chronic pain.
Sources: Anesthesiology Annual Meeting, Eureka News Alert, Nature