Color-Selective Photophobia in Ictal versus Interictal Migraineurs

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Color-Selective Photophobia in Ictal versus Interictal Migraineurs

One of the studies published in the 'The Journal of the International Association for the Study of Pain' found that the colour preference is significant to the migraine patients as compared to the control subjects. This finding is not associated with whether or not the patients are in their ictal or interictal phase.

Aversion to light is usually observed in migraine patients undergoing acute attacks. As per the psychophysical evaluations in episodic migraine patients, white, blue, amber and red lights aggravated a migraine headache in a significantly higher percentage of patients and to a greater extent as compared to green light. 

Nir RR et al. revealed whether these results are phase-dependent – namely:

  • Manifested exclusively during migraine (ictally) but not in its absence (interictally), or
  • Condition-dependent - i.e., expressed uniquely in migraineurs but not in healthy controls

The impact of each colour of light with varying intensity between migraineurs during and in-between attacks and healthy controls were distinguished to portray if the colour-preference of migraine-type photophobia is phase- or condition-dependent. The percentage of migraineurs delineating changes in headache severity when exposed to the various colours of light surged with respect to elevated light intensities during the ictal and interictal phases.

In the ictal phase, ∼80% of the patients experienced aggravated headaches due to white, blue, amber and red lights whereas during the interictal phase light initiated headache in only 16-19% patients. During the ictal and interictal phases, green light exacerbated headaches in 40% and triggered headaches in 3% of the patients. In an exception (highest red light intensity), no control subject outlined headache in response to the light stimuli.


Pain. 2018 Jun 12

Link to the source:

Original title of the article:

Color-Selective Photophobia in Ictal vs. Interictal Migraineurs and in Healthy Controls


Nir RR et al.

Exploratory, Migraine, Headache, Head
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