Migraine headache triggered specifically by sunlight: report of 16 cases

Eur Neurol. 2013;70(5-6):263-6. doi: 10.1159/000354165. Epub 2013 Sep 17.


Migraine headaches may take place due to various triggering factors. One or more triggering factors can be detected in a migraine patient. To our knowledge, a factor that is known to trigger migraine attacks in a patient does not cause headache each time the patient is exposed to it. Migraine headaches also can be experienced without these factors. Here, we describe a case series of 16 sunlight-induced migraine patients. Records of patients admitted to Firat University Faculty of Medicine Clinic of Neurology with a complaint of headache between January 2001 and June 2010 were scanned. Among those patients, the ones suffering headaches after being exposed to sunlight were examined comprehensively. Nine patients were female and 7 were male. Fourteen patients had the characteristics of migraine without aura, while 2 patients had the characteristics of migraine with aura. The mean times to headache onset after sunlight exposure were 5-10 min in summer and 60 min in winter. Migraine headaches can be triggered by many different causes. We view sunlight as a single triggering factor which should be questioned in migraine patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Migraine Disorders / etiology*
  • Seasons
  • Sunlight / adverse effects*
  • Young Adult