Light Sensitivity

6 Ways to Block Fluorescent Lights at Work - and 1 Way Not To

6 Ways to Block Fluorescent Lights at Work - and 1 Way Not To

Does fluorescent lighting make you feel a little…uncomfortable? Here’s how to block fluorescent lights at work.

If the fluorescent lights in your office cause you discomfort, you may have photophobia, or light sensitivity. You might find yourself blinking excessively or squinting to try to filter out some of that light. Maybe your eyes begin to tear up. You may even get a headache or feel sick to your stomach. Whatever your symptoms, they can be uncomfortable, annoying, and inconvenient, affecting your ability to do your job.

Shop glasses for migraine and light sensitivity

But because fluorescent lighting is so prevalent, it’s pretty hard to avoid. “Those with hypersensitive photoreceptor cells may experience discomfort in locations with harsh fluorescent lighting such as big box stores, schools, and offices or from car headlights and sunlight reflecting off of water,” says Dr. Bradley Katz, neuro-ophthamologist.

Fluorescent Lights Survey

We wanted to better understand how fluorescent lights affect people with migraine and their everyday lives, so we took a survey and have 1688 responses to help paint a picture of what fluorescent lights are like for people with headache and migraine.

  • 33% reported having severe limitations functioning under fluorescent lights
  • 56% responded that bright lights provoke a headache “often” or “very often”
  • 73% responded that bright light is very unpleasant during a headache
  • 85% wears sunglasses to decrease headaches
fluorescent lights survey results

If you work in an office, chances are you’re sitting underneath fluorescent lighting for 8 or more hours a day. Since turning off all the lights isn’t really an option, how can you block fluorescent lights at work?

How to Block or Dull Fluorescent Lights at Work

Option #1 Wide Brimmed Hats

While this can help to shade the eyes, it’s probably tough to find an office environment where employees are allowed to wear hats all the time (not to mention hat hair).

Option #2 Physical Barriers

To block fluorescent lights at work, many people try draping fabric over cubicle walls or even rigging up an umbrella. This might make your cubicle look like a million bucks (or not), but it won’t be an option for everyone. Aside from office rules, you and your office mates still need to be able to see.

Option #3 Screen Guards

If the glare on your computer screen exacerbates your problem, using a glare screen or shading device over your monitor could help ease your discomfort at the computer, but it won’t protect your eyes from overhead fluorescents.

Option #4 Dimmers

If you have control over your particular area and sit near a window, this could work well for you. But as adjusting the lighting may also affect those who sit near you, it might not be the most plausible solution.

Option #5 Natural Lighting

Using natural light to reduce your reliance on fluorescent lights can help you get some relief. If you can, try to relocate your desk near a window or skylight. But before you choose a spot, check the conditions at different times of day and from varying angles. At certain hours, you might get some glare off nearby buildings, which can be a problem for some people.

Option #6 Light Sensitivity Glasses

Much different from sunglasses or even computer glasses, fluorescent light glasses like Axon Optics with Avulux® lenses are made specifically for people with photophobia, and can help you block fluorescent lights at work and anywhere else they are found. But instead of blocking all types of light the way sunglasses do, these lenses block only the types of light most commonly associated with photophobia symptoms.

Clinical data shows them to be effective as a light management tool, and thousands of users have seen results. “I have many patients who have had great success when I’ve recommended light sensitivity glasses over computer glasses. The light sensitivity glasses are better all the way around,” says Dr. Katz. And if you get them from Axon Optics, they’re stylish, too.

One customer, John, shares his story about finding relief from the fluorescent lights at his work: “I was getting dizzy and headaches at work on a daily basis. I work at a hospital with all fluorescent lighting and white walls. After realizing that it was the lighting that was causing me a headache, I did some research online after becoming pretty desperate for some relief. I ordered a pair and since then they have worked great! Highly recommended.”


Frame that Blocks Fluorescent Lights at Work


What NOT to Do


While wearing sunglasses indoors might bring some short-term relief, it also causes your eyes to dark-adapt over time. This happens when your eyes grow accustomed to dim conditions, actually making them more light sensitive. As you can imagine, this can cause even greater discomfort. According to Dr. Katz, "We see this dark adaptation occurring all the time. For instance, when we come out of the movie theater in the middle of the day and face the bright sunlight it causes discomfort. Wearing sunglasses indoors has a similar effect."

If you’re tempted to wear sunglasses indoors, opt for light sensitivity eyewear instead; it won’t cause your eyes to dark adapt.

No matter the cause of your photophobia, Axon Optics with Avulux lenses effectively filter light to help you manage the impact light has on you. If you’ve been wondering how to block fluorescent lights at work, they might be your simplest, most convenient option. Since these glasses are non-invasive, there is no risk involved in wearing them all day, every day. Visit our online store to learn more about your options.


Do blue light glasses help with fluorescent lights?

Yes, they can help, but only specific types of blue light filters. Since fluorescent lighting emits large amounts of blue light, a good pair of high-quality blue light glasses may filter the types of light known to exacerbate photophobia.

However, according to a 2016 Harvard study, the types of light that are known to trigger migraine and light sensitivity are blue, red, and amber light. Meaning, blue light filtering lenses may not be enough. Instead, we recommend our clinically-proven Avulux light sensitivity lenses, which filters 97% of blue, red, and amber light. 

Shop glasses for migraine and light sensitivity

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