Axon Optics, a Bountiful-based provider of eyewear products that help people with symptoms of migraine and light sensitivity, has released a new study that shows how the COVID-19 crisis and the shift to remote work has impacted the health of millions of American workers who suffer from migraines.
Migraine is a neurological condition that can cause multiple symptoms, frequently characterized by intense, debilitating headaches, the symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, difficulty speaking, numbness or tingling and sensitivity to light and sound.
Migraine attacks can last for hours to days, and the pain can be so severe that it interferes with daily activities.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced millions of office workers to work from home. Remote workers are spending many more hours per week in front of various screens than they did in the office, and not just for work. Screen time has also increased during personal time with more video calls with family and friends, the homeschooling of kids and binge-watching TV shows during quarantine.
“Nearly 90 percent of migraine sufferers are sensitive to light — including light emitted from computer, tablet, TV or phone screens — so unfortunately we’re not surprised at the data which shows a significant increase in migraine attacks,” said Dr. Bradley Katz, neuro-ophthalmologist at the University of Utah and founder of Axon Optics. “As millions of companies have moved to remote working situations due to the pandemic, employers need to be aware of the shifting health hazards and help keep their employees safe.”
The study shows that nearly 40 percent of workers with migraines say they get more frequent headaches working remotely because their screen time has increased. Nearly 24 percent of people with migraines say they have lost a job because they couldn’t perform their duties due to headaches and 35 percent of people with migraines have attended a remote meeting from bed because of a headache.
Personal lives are also being impacted by remote working the study found. One in four migraine sufferers say headaches have put a strain on their marriage and 48 percent of men and 43 percent of women with migraines say they have cancelled a first date because they were fighting a migraine episode.