Can Green-Tinted Eyeglasses Offer Natural Pain Relief For Those With Fibromyalgia?

Pain, in general, can be life-altering, and pain that can't be treated can be even worse than that. For some, like those with fibromyalgia, the fear of that pain also causes anxiety. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fibromyalgia is a medical condition that makes people more sensitive to pain. When they feel this pain, they can also experience problems thinking, fatigue, sleep trouble, depression, and anxiety. Although 4 million adults are affected by fibromyalgia, there is no cure. Instead, a combination of treatments is used to attempt to manage the symptoms and maintain quality of life. This combination approach is required as the condition causes a complex set of problems, and even just dealing with its effects can cause anxiety and depression, reports the Mayo Clinic. The importance of a multi-faceted approach to treatment is reinforced by the high rates of major depression and death from suicide that accompany those with fibromyalgia (per CDC).

Treatments include pain relievers, stress management techniques, physical activity programs, and counseling. Antidepressants are also used to help manage the fatigue, pain, and sleep troubles that accompany the condition due to its effects on mood and well-being (via Mayo Clinic). With the complexity of fibromyalgia symptoms and complications outside of general pain, it's critical to seek better treatment. What else can be done to reduce these symptoms? There may be a new treatment that can help break this cycle.

Color green may ease anxiety in fibromyalgia patients

According to a new study being presented at the ANESTHESIOLOGY 2022 annual meeting, wearing special green eyeglasses for several hours daily helps reduce anxiety related to pain. The authors of the recent Duke University study noted that 85% of fibromyalgia patients report anxiety and that anxiety can worsen pain experiences and lead to higher opioid use. 

The study authors feel that it may help reduce the need for opioid medications in fibromyalgia patients. Study co-author Padma Gulur, Executive Vice Chair of the Department of Anesthesiology at Duke University, said in an American Society of Anesthesiologists press release regarding the study, "We found that although their pain scores remained the same, those who wore green eyeglasses used fewer opioids, demonstrating that their pain was adequately controlled."

Using color as a means of treatment isn't an entirely new idea, though. Peripheral intravenous cannulation refers to using a needle to pierce the skin and lead in plastic tubing to a vein (via Medical News Today). A 2021 study found that dental patients wearing green-colored glasses before peripheral intravenous cannulation similarly had reduced feelings of stress and pain. These findings, reinforced by the fibromyalgia study results, show promise for some relief for those dealing with anxiety, fibromyalgia, pain, or opioid use.