What is photophobia?

What is photophobia?

23 November 2022

Photophobia is an eye condition that causes sensitivity to light. People who suffer from migraine and/or have other diseases often have photophobia. Controlling photophobia is not easy, after all, it is impossible to avoid bright light and sunlight all the time.

In addition to light sensitivity or eye pain from light exposure, symptoms of photophobia include:

  • squinting, especially when exposed to light;
  • discomfort or pain on exposure to light;
  • headache;
  • neck stiffness.

People with photophobia also perceive normal light as extremely bright. You may feel that a room is too brightly lit, while your friends or family may think the room is comfortable or even dimly lit. Lights from other cars may also bother you more when driving at night.

There are several conditions that are associated with photophobia and, surprisingly, many of them are not primary eye conditions.

Eye conditions in which photophobia is a primary symptom are:

  • Dry eye
  • Uveitis
  • Optic nerve disease
  • Iritis
  • Blepharospasm

Neurological conditions, such as traumatic brain injury, meningitis and migraine, are also associated with light sensitivity. In fact, photophobia is one of the main criteria for diagnosing migraines.

To avoid or reduce photophobia, it is necessary to treat the disease that triggered it. It is important to treat the underlying problem to prevent symptoms from persisting longer.

People with photophobia are advised to wear sunglasses with side shields to prevent light from entering the eyes. At home, it is advisable to dim the lights and close or lower the windows to avoid sunlight.

Driving is not recommended if you have a condition that causes photophobia, but people with no pathological cause can drive using polarized sunglasses.

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