An estimated 4 million adults within the U.S. have fibromyalgia, a chronic disorder characterized by fatigue, problems with sleep and memory, and musculoskeletal problems. Prior studies have found that a fibromyalgia diagnosis correlates with reduced quality-of-life (QOL), increased depression, a heightened risk of having another rheumatic or autoimmune diseases, and higher rates of suicide. As a result, it is crucial to find ways to help these patients manage pain and anxiety to improve outcomes and QOL.
According to an article from Becky Upham in Everyday Health, a presentation at the Anesthesiology 2022 Conference shared a potential way to manage this pain. In the presentation, Dr. Padma Gulur, MD shared the results from a study on special green-light glasses.
The study included data from 34 individuals with fibromyalgia. Over a 2-week period, the participants wore glasses with either blue, clear, or green lenses for four hours each day. Findings from the study show:
- Participants wearing green glasses were 4x more likely to have lower anxiety. Neither blue or clear glasses helped to reduce anxiety levels. The researchers hypothesize that certain wavelengths of green light help to stimulate certain neural pathways and contribute to pain management.
- Green light also correlated with a reduced need for opioid use.
These results are promising, especially as novel therapeutic options are urgently needed for those with fibromyalgia. However, Dr. Gulur did note that glasses with effective green lenses are not yet available for patient use, though, through development, they may be available in the future.
Fibromyalgia: An Overview
As described above, fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and other health issues. Many researchers believe that fibromyalgia increases pain signals in the body. Fibromyalgia affects females at a higher rate than males.
In some cases, symptoms appear over time; in others, they occur after some sort of triggering event, such as stress, infection, or surgery. These symptoms can include:
- “Fibro fog” (difficulty with memory and concentration)
- Extreme fatigue
- Widespread pain and stiffness
- Headaches (including migraines)
- Tingling or numbness in the hands and feet
- Abdominal pain and/or bloating
- Postural tachycardia syndrome
- Depression and anxiety