Photophobia

Image of a man sitting and holding his head in his hands.

Do you find yourself squinting or closing your eyes in bright light? It could be photophobia or acute light sensitivity. Eyes are designed to respond to light, but certain conditions can create light sensitivity. Exposure to sunlight, fluorescent light, incandescent light and other bright light sources can irritate a person who suffers from this condition.

Photophobia Symptoms

Photophobia can affect anyone regardless of age or gender. It is not an eye disease itself, but is typically a sign of another eye problem. It can be a temporary occurrence or a recurring problem.

When a person suffers from photophobia, they can experience extreme discomfort in bright light. Outward symptoms include squinting, excessively closing eyes, excess tear production, and a burning sensation in the eyes. The severity of light sensitivity is proportional to the seriousness of the underlying eye problem behind the photophobia.

Photophobia Causes

Multiple eye diseases and conditions can be a root cause for photophobia. A simple infection or inflammation can irritate the eye and produce light sensitivity. Migraines or other severe headaches can also lead to photophobia.

Eye color can influence light sensitivity. People who have lighter colored irises experience greater sensitivity than people with darker irises. Extra pigment can serve as a protective barrier against brighter lights.

Sometimes photophobia is directly related to a serious eye problem. It can be a symptom of various eye diseases and conditions, including:

  • Corneal abrasions
  • Uveitis
  • Dry eyes
  • Contact lens irritations
  • Sunburn
  • Medications
  • Detached retina
  • Refractive surgery
  • Color vision defects
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Keratitis
  • Iritis
  • Botulism

Photophobia Treatments

If you are suffering from photophobia, the best thing to do is to treat the underlying cause. Once the factor triggering light sensitivity is dealt with, photophobia will usually go away and your eyes will return to their normal state.

Some prescription medications can cause light sensitivity. If that is the cause of your photophobia, talk with your physician about replacing it with another medication that does not cause that side effect.

You can wear protective eyewear while outdoors or in brightly lit rooms. Sunglasses with polarized or photochromic lenses reduce glare and also block UV rays that can damage eyes. Avoid bright light or harsh light whenever possible if you are suffering from photophobia.

Extreme cases of photophobia may require prosthetic contact lenses colored to resemble your eyes. These lenses reduce the amount of light entering your eyes and alleviate sensitivity.

Request a complimentary eyewear style session today!

Testimonials

  • I have worn contact lenses for years but due to my strong near-sighted prescription with high astigmatism could get neither the comfort nor vision very good in standard gas permeable lenses or in soft lenses. I had reverted back to wearing glasses most of the time until Dr. Krywko recommended the SynergEyes lenses. They work great for me and I can finally wear contacts again! Thank you, Dr. Krywko!

    ...
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  • Dr. Candria Kryko is a wonderful OD. I was seen by Dr. Kryko in Scottsdale recently for an eye exam/contact lens fitting. She is extremely pleasant, attentive, and she took her time to give me a thorough exam and answer all of my questions. Dr. Kryko gave me recommendations on contacts and eye drops, as well, she gave me tips on how I can save on some of my contact expenses. She was professional, attentive, took the time to explain what was needed, and was simply nice to be around. I recommend Dr. Kryko. 

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  • My entire family have been seeing Dr. Krywko for years. The professionalism, care and focus are over the top. I was told by an optician I would not be a likely candidate for contact lenses. However with Dr. Krywko's patience and wisdom she was able to fit me for contact lenses that work perfectly! I am thrilled..........Plus, I also have the most gorgeous frames (when I do not want to wear my contacts. ) I receive comments every time I wear them, " where did you get your glasses!" Dr. Kryko just received the newest styles......I'm in trouble..........

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