Influence of colors on habituation of visual evoked potentials in patients with migraine with aura and in healthy volunteers

Headache. 2000 Jan;40(1):36-40. doi: 10.1046/j.1526-4610.2000.00006.x.


Objective: To investigate whether colored glasses influence the habituation of visual evoked potentials.

Background: We have previously shown that during pattern-reversal stimulations lasting 2 minutes the amplitude of the visual evoked potential increases in migraine with and without aura between attacks, whereas it decreases in healthy volunteers. Red light was found to increase visually evoked EEG fast activity only in children with migraine with aura. Wearing rose-tinted glasses for 4 months decreased attack frequency in parallel with a reduction of the visually evoked EEG fast activity.

Methods: We compared the change in amplitude of the visual evoked potential using five different tinted glasses in 12 patients with migraine with aura and in 10 healthy volunteers. During continuous stimulation at 3.1 Hz, five blocks of 50 responses were sequentially averaged using red, yellow, green, blue, and grey glasses and without glasses in a random order and analyzed in terms of latencies and N1-P1 amplitudes. Amplitude changes were calculated for each block by comparison with the first block in every condition and analyzed statistically using Zerbe's method.

Results: In healthy volunteers, the visual evoked potential amplitude increased with red glasses compared to without glasses (P = .05) or with green glasses (P = .03). In patients with migraine with aura, no significant difference was detected using colored glasses. Our findings in healthy volunteers are in line with earlier reports of increased excitability of the human visual cortex when exposed to red light. The lack of such a pattern in patients with migraine with aura suggests that the visual cortex is interictally hypoexcitable rather than hyperexcitable, which is consistent with studies of transcranial magnetic stimulation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Color*
  • Evoked Potentials, Visual / physiology*
  • Eyeglasses
  • Female
  • Habituation, Psychophysiologic / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Light
  • Male
  • Migraine with Aura / physiopathology*
  • Visual Cortex / physiology