Photophobia, also known as light sensitivity, is an intolerance to light. Light sources, such as sunlight and fluorescent light, can produce many uncomfortable symptoms to occur. Common symptoms of photophobia include squinting the eyes when exposed to light, headaches and dizziness. Photophobia can become severe to the point it causes eye redness, blurred vision, and eye pain. Finding relief for photophobia can be difficult because there are numerous factors that can cause this condition, such as medications and infections.
Causes of Photophobia
Photophobia is often a symptom of another underlying issue, such as inflammation or an infection of the eyes. It can also be an underlying symptom of an illness or disease. Migraines and certain medications are known to cause photophobia as well. Medications containing doxycycline, quinine, tetracycline, and belladonna commonly cause photophobia as a side effect of these medications.
Common eye conditions, such as a corneal abrasion, contact lens irritation or a detached retina, are known to cause photophobia. When the muscles of the iris become inflamed, it can make it difficult for the pupil of the eye to constrict, which makes the eyes sensitive to light due to the fact the pupil is responsible for controlling the amount of light that enters the eye.
People who have light eye color are more likely to experience photophobia than people who have darker eye color. This is due to the fact people with dark eye color have more pigment which protects them against harsh lighting.
Finding complete relief for photophobia involves treating the underlying cause of the light sensitivity. If medication is the cause of the photophobia, switching to a different medication and ceasing the use of the original may resolve the sensitivity. Always speak with a physician prior to starting any new medications or stopping current medications.
If contact lenses are the cause of the sensitivity, glasses may be a better option to relieve the photophobia symptoms. A prescription adjustment may cease the symptoms of photophobia as well. If an infection or an illness is the cause of the light sensitivity, treating the infection or illness will often cease the photophobia symptoms.
Home treatment for photophobia relief involves limiting harsh light sources. When in harsh sunlight, protect the eyes using a wide brimmed hat or sunglasses with ultraviolet protection. Polarized sunglasses work very well for relieving photophobia. This will lessen the effects of the bright sunlight and relieve the symptoms. In severe cases of photophobia, prosthetic contact lenses can be worn. These lenses are made to match the color of the eye; however, they reduce the amount of light that enters the eye.
When indoors, you can reduce the symptoms of photophobia by limiting bright light sources. When indoors, keep the blinds closed to reduce harsh sunlight from entering through the windows. Keep the lighting low in the room by using soft light bulbs or dark lamp shades to reduce bright light sources and ease the light sensitivity.
“Photophobia Treatment” UMM