Kaylee Calito uses migraine glasses to assist her zoom fatigue


Illustration by Natalie Cronin

Hailey Cho, staff writer

As South’s annual freshman assembly roars, only one thing is on sophomore Kaylee Calito’s mind: she cannot see through her left eye. While she stumbles to the nurse’s office, she feels her left hand starting to numb. Within a few minutes of sitting in the office, the entire left side of Calito’s body has become limp. It was the first time she experienced the extremities of a migraine.

After Calito’s first migraine, she was diagnosed with chronic migraines. Chronic migraines occur up to 15 times a month, Calito said, as opposed to regular migraines which only happen a few times every month. Symptoms of her migraines such as numbness, extreme headaches and seeing spots were similar to that of a stroke, and Calito said she had to visit the ER once for them. Calito spent two weeks at home and when she returned to school, she had to wear sunglasses indoors for a month. Though the sunglasses blocked light, they did not block the blue light, Calito said, which was a trigger for her migraines. 

“My family wasn’t sure what to do since all I was saying was that my head really hurt,” Calito said. “It didn’t seem that serious until I explained the other symptoms I was feeling.”

The pain that Calito experienced wasn’t just physical though, as she also noted the mental struggles that came with her condition. Calito not only had a hard time making new friends after missing the first two weeks of school, but she also struggled because no one around her understood what she was going through.

“I felt really lonely,” Calito said. “People don’t take migraines seriously because they don’t understand how they actually feel. They just think of it as a big headache, but it was a lot more than that.”

To combat these symptoms and struggles, Calito set up a GoFundMe for a pair of blue light glasses. Though Calito takes medication and does her best to avoid triggers, the transition to e-learning brought on new difficulties. Spending a significantly longer time on a screen was painful for Calito, and she remarked that the purchase of the new glasses was necessary. 

“ [The migraine glasses] were about $200, and people raised $250, which is crazy,” Calito stated. “I have been wanting these for a long time and to finally have them. It has eliminated certain triggers to my migraines which is really good.”

Sophomore Sonali Vyas, a friend of Calito, explained how hard it was to see Calito go through her migraines. The first time Vyas saw Calito experience a migraine was during a test. Vyas remembers that Calito could not get through her test and had to go to the nurse’s office. After Vyas heard about Calito’s GoFundMe, she said she did what she could to help. 

“I don’t know very much [about migraines] myself, but I’ve witnessed how much Kaylee has struggled with them,” Vyas said. “I wish other people could see how much she goes through. Kaylee’s perseverance is amazing.”

Though her glasses have made life easier, Calito said her migraines still affect her everyday life. Calito has difficulty with memory loss, as well as many other intense side effects and she wants others to know that migraines are more than just headaches. 

“I wish people could understand that it is a serious issue and shouldn’t be taken lightly,” Calito said. “A lot of people can suffer mentally and physically from it. It makes you feel really depressed, you’re in pain, and it really can do some damage to your overall health.”