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STUDY: Green Eyeglasses Significantly Reduced The Need For Opioids

According to new trials, wearing green eyeglasses daily noticeably reduced pain, anxiety, and the need for opioids in fibromyalgia patients. Other patients who experience chronic pain also benefitted from the natural therapy, says Padma Gulur, M.D., Lead Author and Executive Vice Chair, Duke Anesthesiology and Duke Health.

“Our research found that certain wavelengths of green light stimulate the pathways in the brain that help manage pain,” Dr. Gulur explained. “There is an urgent need for additional treatments to reduce the use of opioids among patients with fibromyalgia and other types of chronic pain, and green eyeglasses could provide an easy-to-use, non-drug option.”

The findings are especially interesting given the pharmaceutical industry’s stranglehold over pain-management options. Very few alternatives to opioids exist for patients with severe and chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia, which causes pain all over the body.

Pain and anxiety share similar biological mechanisms. Additionally, fear of pain exacerbates anxiety, often leading to increased opioid use, said Dr. Gulur. His study’s findings could help alleviate pain and anxiety for up to four million Americans if taken seriously.

Green light therapy for fibromyalgia changes serotonin levels in the brain

The research randomized 34 patients suffering from fibromyalgia. Other eyeglasses were also tested (clear and blue), but wearers of green glasses were four times more likely to notice reduction of symptoms.

“We found that although their pain scores remained the same, those who wore the green eyeglasses used fewer opioids, demonstrating that their pain was adequately controlled,” said Dr. Gulur. “We would recommend the green eyeglasses treatment for those with fibromyalgia and are studying patients with other chronic pain conditions to determine if it would be beneficial.”

How could something as simple as filtered light make any difference to pain? The eyeglasses are specially formulated to filter a specific wavelength on the green light spectrum.

The effects of green light on the brain have been researched and well-documented for years. Green light can reset the circadian rhythm through melatonin, the hormone that regulates our sleep-wake cycles. A special photoreceptor system in the human eye picks up light and elicits nonvisual responses, sending signals to the brain to reset the body’s internal clock and altering melatonin production levels.

“Green light changes the levels of serotonin and alters the endogenous opioid system, an innate pain-relieving system found throughout the central and peripheral nervous system, gastrointestinal tract and immune system,” said Bing Liao, M.D., a neurologist at Houston Methodist Hospital.

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