Eyes Sensitive to Light – Photophobia

Last updated on November 18th, 2018 at 06:54 pm

Photophobia, or light level of sensitivity, is an intolerance of light. Sources such as sunlight, fluorescent light and incandescent light all can cause pain, in addition to a have to squint or close your eyes. Headaches also may accompany light sensitivity.

Light-sensitive individuals in some cases are troubled just by brilliant light. In extreme cases, however, any light can be irritating.

What Causes Photophobia?

Photophobia is not an eye disease, however a symptom of many conditions such as infection or swelling that can aggravate the eyes.

Light level of sensitivity likewise can be a symptom of underlying illness that do not directly impact the eyes, such as virus-caused illnesses or severe headaches or migraine.

Conditions That Affect the Brain

Light level of sensitivity is typically related to a couple of severe conditions that impact the brain. These include:


Encephalitis occurs when your brain is irritated from a viral infection or other cause. Serious cases of it can be deadly.


This is a bacterial infection that triggers inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. The bacterial type can cause major complications such as brain damage, hearing loss, seizures, and even death.

Subarachnoid Hemorrhage

A subarachnoid hemorrhage happens when you have bleeding in between your brain and the surrounding layers of tissue. It can be fatal or lead to mental retardation or a stroke.

Conditions That Affect the Eyes

Photophobia is also common in a number of conditions that affect the eyes. These include:

Corneal Abrasion

A corneal abrasion is an injury to the cornea. The cornea is the outermost layer of the eye. This type of injury is common and can occur if you get sand, dirt, metal particles or other compounds in your eyes. This can lead to a major condition called a corneal ulcer if the cornea ends up being infected.


Scleritis occurs when the white part of your eye ends up being irritated. It generally affects individuals between 30 and 50 years old, women in particular. It’s usually caused by diseases that impact the immune system, such as lupus. Other symptoms include eye pain, watery eyes, and blurred vision.


Also known as “pink eye,” this happens when the layer of tissue that covers the white part of your eye ends up being infected or swollen. It’s mostly brought on by infections. Other causes include germs and allergies. Other symptoms consist of itching, soreness, and eye pain.

Dry Eye Syndrome

This occurs when your tear ducts can’t make enough tears or make poor quality tears. It results in your eyes being excessively dry. Causes consist of age, ecological factors, particular medical conditions, and some medications.

Eyes Sensitive to Light (Photophobia) Causes and Treatment

Photophobia is a symptom of irregular intolerance to visual understanding of light. As a medical symptom, photophobia is not a morbid fear, but an experience of discomfort or pain to the eyes due to light direct exposure or by presence of actual physical level of sensitivity of the eyes, though the term is sometimes in addition used to abnormal or illogical worry of light such as heliophobia. The term photophobia originates from the Greek φῶς (phōs), meaning “light”, and φόβος (phobos), implying “fear”. Photophobia is a typical symptom of visual snow.

Photophobia Treatment

The best treatment for light sensitivity is to attend to the underlying cause. As soon as the triggering element is treated, photophobia vanishes in many cases.

If you are taking a medication that causes light level of sensitivity, speak to your prescribing doctor about ceasing or replacing the drug.

If you’re naturally sensitive to light, prevent bright sunlight and other severe lighting sources. Use wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses with ultraviolet (UV) security.

Photochromic lenses are another option for mild sun sensitivity. These lenses darken automatically outdoors and obstruct One Hundred Percent of the sun’s UV rays.

For brilliant sunlight, consider polarized sunglasses. These sun lenses supply additional security against glare-causing reflections of light from water, sand, snow, concrete roads and other reflective surface areas.

In a severe case, you may think about wearing prosthetic contact lenses that are specifically colored to look like your very own eyes. Prosthetic contact lenses can decrease the quantity of light that enters the eye and make your eyes more comfy.

Q&A About Photophobia

Q: Are blue eyes more sensitive to light?

A: Light eyes such as blue, green or grey are more sensitive in sunlight. Most people are sensitive to sudden light, such as walking out of a dark hallway on a sunny day. However, if you find yourself needing to wear sunglasses even indoors, it might be a sign of a more severe condition.

Q: Why is one of my eye painful and sensitive to light?

A: Probably you have Corneal ulcer or iritis. Corneal ulcer generally occurs as an agonizing, reddened eye with mild to extreme discharge, and lowered vision. It is the result of a localized infection of the cornea, similar to an abscess. Iritis is an inflammation of the iris typically leading to light sensitivity, reduced visual skill, eye pain and reddened eyes.

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