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Glasses to fight migraine headaches

Migraine headaches afflict 31 million Americans. For many, the pain is severe. But one doctor has developed a pair of glasses that really work for some patients.

Melany Moras suffered her first migraine headache last spring when she was pregnant. It lasted an entire weekend.

"I was hiding in my closet because I couldn't really be out. I was dizzy. It was really bad," said Moras.

She did not want to take medication because of her pregnancy. But she ran into an engineer on campus who helped design glasses for migraine patients.

"It actually helped tremendously. I started feeling better. It reduced my headaches," Moras said.

"Nine percent of men and 18 percent of women have migraines. It's a huge problem, the most common neurologic disease there is," said Dr. Brad Katz, neuro- ophthalmologist.

Dr. Brad Katz is the University of Utah neuro-ophthalmologist who invented the coated lenses.

Eighty to 90 percent of migraine patients have light sensitivity, and the glasses block wavelengths of light that can trigger the headaches. He worked with a university photonics researcher to design the frames.

"This particular frame we've chosen has a more form-fitting frame so that it prevents any ambient light from coming in around the sides," Dr. Katz said.

A few patients, like Moras, have tried them. Clinical trials begin next month.

"The change can be dramatic. Some people refused to give them back," Dr. Katz said.

Dr. Katz launched axon optics to develop and market the non-prescription glasses, which could be ready for patients next year.

"I've been inventing stuff since I was a little kid, so I was just waiting for the right thing to come along," Dr. Katz said.

If the clinical trial goes well, the glasses could be a great asset for migraine sufferers.