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Experts say green is the most relaxing color for the eye to view. Alexander Sinaga/EyeEm/Getty Images
  • Researchers say wearing green-tinted eyeglasses for several hours may help ease pain-related anxiety associated with fibromyalgia.
  • Experts say the color green has healing powers and is the most relaxing color for the eye to view.
  • They add that daily exercise, a healthy sleep schedule, and relaxation techniques can also help.

Wearing specialized green eyeglasses for several hours a day could reduce pain-related anxiety and might help reduce the need for opioids in people with fibromyalgia and others with chronic pain.

That’s according to a study presented at the ANESTHESIOLOGY 2022 annual meeting.

The findings haven’t been published yet in a peer-reviewed journal.

Fibromyalgia currently affects about 4 million adults in the United States.

The pain and anxiety associated with the condition share similar biological mechanisms. In addition, the fear of pain exacerbates anxiety and can lead to opioid use. There are few treatment alternatives to opioids to help with the condition’s sometimes-intense pain.

The study involved 34 people with fibromyalgia who were randomized to wear various eyeglasses for 4 hours per day for two weeks.

  • 10 participants wore blue glasses
  • 12 participants wore clear glasses
  • 12 participants wore green glasses

Researchers reported that the participants wearing green glasses were four times more likely to have reduced anxiety levels than the other groups, who indicated they saw no reduction in their anxiety.

Most of those using the green glasses reported feeling better and asked if they could keep wearing them when the study ended.

Scientists formulated the glasses to filter a specific wavelength on the green light spectrum.

The researchers indicated that they found that the participants’ pain scores remained the same. However, those using green eyeglasses used fewer opioids, meaning their pain was adequately controlled.

The scientists recommended the green eyeglasses treatment for those with fibromyalgia. They are currently studying people with other chronic pain conditions to see if reducing anxiety in other chronic pain conditions would be beneficial.

Color therapy, sometimes called light therapy, is considered alternative medicine.

It is based on the belief that color can treat physical and mental health. While it has been used for a long time, possibly dating back to ancient Egypt, Greece, China, and India, there are limited scientific studies on the effectiveness of using colors to improve health.

“There is promise in light therapy as an adjunct to traditional pain management treatment for chronic pain conditions. Research for migraine relief has shown promising results in decreasing intensity and frequency using green light-emitting diodes,” Dr. Dmitriy Dvoskin, a specialist in pain management, physical medicine, and rehabilitation at Pain Management NYC in New York. “Additionally, a study found that colors affect the perception of pain stimuli. Participants rated pain preceded by red as more painful than other colors. The researchers reported less intense pain perception when preceded by blue and green light.”

Dr. Padma Gulur, an author of the study, a professor of anesthesiology and population health as well as an executive vice chair at Duke Anesthesiology, and the director of pain management strategy and opioid surveillance at Duke Health, explained to Healthline the results of the research.

“Green lenses reduced ‘fear of pain-related anxiety. While we do not fully understand the mechanism for this response and are currently studying it, the hypothesis is that our visual mediators respond more to green light when it comes to inhibiting the pain pathways,” Gulur said.

However, there is still a question of why green works better than other colors to reduce anxiety and pain.

“The color green has healing power and is the most relaxing color for the human eye to view,” said Dr. Medhat Mikhael, a pain management specialist and medical director of the non-operative program at the Spine Health Center at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in California.

“Green helps alleviate anxiety, depression, and nervousness,” Mikhael told Healthline. “It represents new growth, rebirth, and harmony. Color therapy using green could influence the central nervous system initiating excitation and releasing some inhibitory neuropeptides that can help pain and reduce the need for opioids.”

Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes widespread pain, sleep issues, fatigue, and emotional distress.

Some people with fibromyalgia are more sensitive to pain.

Some of the symptoms of fibromyalgia include:

  • Pain and stiffness all over the body
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep problems
  • Problems with thinking, memory, and concentration
  • Headaches

Diagnosis typically occurs during middle age, and those with lupus or rheumatoid arthritis are more likely to develop fibromyalgia.

Treatment usually consists of a combination of therapies, including:

  • Medications, such as pain-relievers
  • Aerobic exercises
  • Muscle strengthening exercises
  • Stress management techniques
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy for underlying depression
  • Improving sleep time and the quality of sleep

Self-care is an essential part of treatment for fibromyalgia.

It can help improve your daily functioning, reduce pain, and increase your feelings of wellness.

The American College of Rheumatology suggests the following self-care:

  • Take time each day to relax. Use deep breathing and meditation to reduce stress.
  • Create a sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Avoid napping and limit caffeine consumption.
  • Participate in regular exercise This can reduce pain and fatigue. If it is difficult, start slow, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator. As it becomes easier, add additional activities.