Post Surgical Headaches - Suggestions for Deal

Post Surgical Blue & Florescent Light Headache Kit

I am starting a topic for people who had headaches after brain surgery. I wanted to share some ideas and devices which helped my headaches.

My headaches were pretty bad right after surgery, and also my “brain fatigue” was bad. For up to 6 months after surgery, I sometimes had to stop doing things because I was “out of brain energy.”. This still happens a bit today, although it has progressively gotten better.

A REAL killer, even today, is going to the grocery store, especially the frozen food aisle. Grocery stores just seem to use a huge amount of florescent, flickering, bright overhead lights. And if you look at those frozen food refrigerators you are getting both the overhead lights and florescent lights aimed right at you.

So, I just bring the ray bans and a baseball cap when I go shopping.

I think one reason it has gotten better is BECAUSE I started protecting by brain.

My vision and brain did change after surgery. I had to get new glasses. The eye doctor said he didn’t know why, but “after any trauma to the brain, vision degrades along the same lines it was headed prior to brain surgery.”

However, new glasses did not solve all my issues. I had sensitivity to blue light coming from computers and TV’s, fluorescent (flickering) light in many offices, and also sunlight.

For the first couple of months after surgery, I needed to limit my time at the computer to about 6 hours a day. This was somewhat difficult because I am a software engineer.

My headache and brain fatigue did gradually improve, but I believe the improvement was in a larger part due to the steps I took to protect my brain from too much stimulation.

However, even today, a year and 2 months after surgery, I must protect my brain from fatigue. The following kinds of situations still give me a headache:

  • Watching my friend’s 50-inch TV. This will give me a headache in 5 minutes. Her TV has low-blue-light-mode, but this only helps a little. It’s the size of the TV, and I also think the screen refresh rate [hertz] which causes the brain to be over-stimulated.)

  • Walking into grocery stores, and especially looking at the frozen food section. This will give me a headache in 5 minutes.

  • Driving in the sunlight, on a summer day or in Mexico, without sunglasses or with cheap sunglasses. This will give me a headache in about 15 minutes.

  • The florescent light in my kitchen will give me headaches.

  • Driving at night.

As far as I can tell, the headaches come from blue light (electronic devices or the sun) or flickering florescent light.

Apparently, there is a lot of energy in blue light; although it’s mostly out of the eye’s spectrum, it’s very “expensive” for the brain to process this higher energy, or flickering light.

Blue Light Headache Remedies

I bought the following things to deal with blue light. I think these helped me a lot.

I told my neurosurgeon that they should offer a kit of these things, since the blue light headache problem seems to happen to most people after aneurysm surgery.

Devices to Filter Computer and TV Blue Light

  1. F FORITO 2 Pack 14 inch Anti Glare Laptop Screen Protector.
    These are relatively easy to put on (you peal off the back and then it sticks to your screen, won’t damage the computer, inexpensive, and worked immediately.
    Cost: $15.00

  2. For my TV. VizoBlueStop 23-24 inch Anti-Blue Light Filter for Computer Monitor.
    Cost: $100
    This says it’s for computers, but I use it for my TV. It fits perfectly over my small Insignia ($100) Fire TV. I think using a smaller TV helps too. I’ve noticed that my friend’s 50-inch TV is an instant headache within 5 minutes of watching.
    I also recommend moving to a smaller screen TV. A friend of mine got a similar shield for her 50-inch TV.

For Outdoors, Driving and Grocery Shopping - an array of sunglasses

For anyone still having headaches during driving or being in the outdoors, I highly recommend that you seek out a pair of real glass sunglasses. These are usually made of “Coring” glass.
Not many companies manufacturer real glass sunglasses. The most available in the United States are:

  • Ray Ban’s (not all of them are glass)
  • Maui Jim’s - these might be the best glass glasses. They are more expensive than Ray Bans. I have not tried these yet.

I found the Corning glass lenses prevent headaches better than plastic lenses. The polarization and the blue light filtering of real glass seems to be better.

When wearing plastic polarized lenses while driving, I noticed that for some reason, there are areas of reflected light, bright spots, inside the glasses.
The real glass lenses cut down on that “inside reflection.”.
I also think the wrap around helps. I got these specifically for driving, where the setting sunlight would come in the side window.

So, I think two things were important:

  1. glass as opposed to plastic,
  2. wrap around.

I found that I really needed a bunch of different sunglasses for different situations:

  1. Ray-Ban Men’s Rb2027 Predator 2 Rectangular Sunglasses - Try before you buy.
    Cost: $209.99 after free 7-day try-on.
    These have been a lifesaver and worth the cost. The Amazon price is the best I’ve seen, and if you don’t like them you can return them. These do not come with a case, which is a little important to protect the glass lenses and your investment.

  2. Sports Polarized Sunglasses for Men Cycling Driving, Fishing 100% UV Protection. $19.00
    I use these when I can’t find my Ray Ban’s. Good for keeping around the car. They do have a somewhat irritating frames that grab your hair when taking them off. I guess that’s to keep them on your head when doing sports. These are good glasses, but you do get the “inside glare” that all plastic frames seem to have.

  3. Night driving Glasses
    Cost: $14.00.
    The headlights coming on at night can give you an instant migraine, but if you put on your Ray Bans at night, you can kill someone else! These were a good compromise.

For the gym:
4. Polarized Sports Sunglasses for Men Women with 5 Interchangeable Lenes for Cycling Sunglasses Running Baseball Finishing
The advantage here is that these won’t fall off and look sort of like racquetball glasses. So people in the gym won’t think you are a dufus.

OK. So that’s my list. Please feel free to reply with your own solutions. Personally, I think the hospitals should offer an “anti-blue light post aneurysm kit.” Because everyone seems to have headaches after this operation.
I think that the above items I purchased helped me protect my brain, and that is one reason I have less headaches today.
I think these things were good post-operative investements.

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“Because everyone seems to have headaches after this operation.”

Thank you for sharing your experiences and lessons. It’s much appreciated. And if you don’t mind, what specific kind of surgery did you undergo? Different procedures often result in different after effects. Thanks again.

Endovascular treatment. My link is here: 17 mm Aneurysm in Anterior Inferior Cerebellar Artery (AICA) Treated Endovascularly by Flow Diverter 10/13/22 - #3 by CharlesDWM

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Thanks for the great hints! My prescription didn’t change fortunately after I ruptured, but I did lose peripheral vision for a very long time. However I did have to go to wearing sunglasses full time and a ball cap. I have many caps, but only one pair of glasses and they are glass, just with my same prescription. I think I’ve only had to change the prescription once in ten years.

I do recall an article about a company in Utah that was selling a specifically tinted rose colored glass for glasses that were for those who have migraines, unfortunately I do not remember the name of the company. But one could get them in either prescription or non prescription glass.

Flickering lights can still give my brain a slap as can some LED lights. The good news is that as my brain has continued to heal, they don’t affect me as much, especially when the RN or MD floes the Neuro testing with them. I’m still affected by sunlight flickering through the trees as we drive down the freeway so I use car window shades which help enormously. I wish I could get all the windows darkened but there are States that only allows so much as the police need to see inside the vehicle.

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Thank you for sharing! I had the same issue and am still fighting with my vision on a daily basis. I had a clipping done 1 year ago on 1/24. I lost part of the vision in my right eye as a result of the surgery.

Grocery stores are the absolute worst - this is the time when I see the difference in my vision the most. I’m also in tech and on my computer constantly. I took 5 months off of work after my surgery and then when I started again, I had to be very cognizant of the time spent on the computer. Even today, as I write this, I’m struggling with looking at the screen.

I use Maui Jims and I absolutely love them. They are the only sun glasses I will buy now. I have regular glasses I wear, but try not to wear in front of the computer all the time, as I’ve also been told this can be hard on my eyes. I’m going to invest in a pair of blue light glasses (high quality) without my regular prescription in them for the computer work.

I also read a ton and I was using my tablet, which started causing headaches and issues for my eyes and around my surgery area. I bought myself a Kindle Paperwhite and the issues have virtually gone away overnight since I switched. The eye strain is much much less with the Paperwhite.

I am having an MRA on Thursday to make sure everything is as it should be, but will be bringing up my light sensitivity and headache issues during that appointment.

Hope your headaches get better!! Thank you for sharing all your recs!!

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I couldn’t agree more re. how much easier it is to read on the Kindle Paperwhite, Kmanstof. And if you’re a scribbler like I am, their 10 inch Scribe version is the cat’s meow for my eyes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwWzQUa_7As&t=495s

I use an iPad and just control the light on it as I do with the computer when I’m on it. Our computer isn’t up and running since our move, I haven’t found the correct box yet for all the wires needed :crazy_face::joy:

Yes! I forgot to mention the Kindle, particularly the larger Scribe. This device was $500 when I bought it, but is now down to $419 and I think I have seen it on sale for less. I got the 64 GB version, here: https://www.amazon.com/Kindle-Scribe-the-first-Kindle-for-reading-writing-journaling-and-sketching/dp/B09BSRTHL7.
It has a “warmth” adjuster where you can turn the background to a glowing orange if you want.
So far, what I use it for mostly is PDFs I download mostly from the Internet Archive: https://www.amazon.com/Kindle-Scribe-the-first-Kindle-for-reading-writing-journaling-and-sketching/dp/B09BSRTHL7
In about 6 months, I have downloaded over 300 books.
The background of this large Kindle is much easier on the eyes and brain than an iPad; the Kindle is not “radiating” at you.
If you download PDF’s you can write directly on it, writing notes in the margin, underlining, etc. Just like paper.
In the Kindle format of books, you cannot write in the margin, but you can underline passages with your finger, and open as special “notes” dialog which is something like a sticky note.
It also does have an Internet browser which renders most web pages, for instance Wikipedia.

If you get one of these, it’s worthwhile to get an inexpensive case too, one with a pen holder. The major reason for the case is because it’s harder than heck to hang onto that pen. A good case will have a pen holder so you don’t loose the pen.

I also recently found out that I can use the Libby app, Getting started with Libby (libbyapp.com) to check out books from my local library and send them directly to my Kindle. This helps by-pass Amazon’s marketing of its own Kindle books. That is, you can get the Kindle editions of popular NYTimes reviewed books directly from your local library.

From Amazon, I have notice that we can now “rent” books for about 6 months. That is a somewhat useful feature because it allows you to save some money.

I always said I would get a Kindle when then allowed me to write notes, and now they have!

The Kindle, particular the scribe, should be on every brain aneurysm recoverer’s list of tools.

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Hi, I was wondering where you purchased your Maui Jims. Was it online? What type did you get?
I think they might block more light than Ray Bans, but I haven’t been able to find a place where I could try a pair and they are like $300, right? Whereas my Ray Bans were $200.

I do have the Kindle App and just learned a couple days ago that I could download two free books as a Prime member. I became hooked on Freida McFadden since I read “Brain Damage” and many are free for me to read through their library and it will tell me when I need to return one to check out another. I also use Project Gutenberg (https://www.gutenberg.org/ ) and Internet Archive (https://archive.org/) quite frequently as I like old books. I do need to go to the library in the county we now live and get a card and code to use whatever books they have available. One thing I love about the tablet is if I can’t remember the definition of a word, any App has the ability to let me look it up. I used to have my old Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary next to me🤣

The Kindle sounds really interesting but I have a fairly new iPad and won’t be purchasing another tablet for quite some time. My cover does have the pen holder and you’re spot on at the handiness of it.

BH uses Maui Jim’s and gets them at the EyeMaxx. But that won’t help you, so I did a quick search and found that this place has them Maui Jim - Welcome to Seattle Eye. Maui’s are expensive, more so if you have a prescription so be prepared! Many years ago BH bought the first pair at a large Sporting Goods store that had them on sale, I think they were close to 75% off and got hooked on them.

Being a practitioner of minimalism, I purchased the most inexpensive version of the Scribe (16GB)… only download the book that I am currently reading and/or the next book on my list… and remove the books that I’ve read from my Scribe (they remain in my Library in my Kindle account though) after I am done with them. When you practice this form of minimalist downloading, 16gb is more thah enough to get the job done. Not to mention the saving that you can accrue from purchasing the most inexpensive version.

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Hi,

Thanks so much for your post and all the follow up posts. Reading the material is hard for me because my brain shuts down after a while. I’m going to share all of these with my spouse for sure.

I also have headaches and my brain shuts down when it becomes over stimulated. That visual and auditory stimulation.

I had to quit reading this thread because of a headache. If someone already mentioned this…oopps.

My neuropsychologist explained the brain fatigue to me like this. She said we all have a “broadband” type filter in our brain that filters out stuff we don’t need to see, hear, think about, etc. We don’t realize our brain is doing this. Unfortunately for me and possibly others, my “broadband” filter is now gone. My brain processes/sees/hears everything as if i need all of that information. After a short time, my brain shuts down. When my brain shuts down…my headaches get worse.

My rupture was in 2001. I had coiling twice and then had to have it clipped in 2006. Then in 2015, a routine CTA showed I had another aneurysm. That one was clipped in 2017.

Again, thane for all this information. I look forward to perusing all of it…a little at a time!!

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My brain shuts down the same way - too much stimulation and it’s gone on sabbatical. I have to hydrate immediately and get some protein in else a migraine can come visit.

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