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All About Light Sensitivity
Our eyes are amazing organs, but sometimes they develop issues, due to factors like age, environment, medication, lifestyle, etc. Light sensitivity, also known as photophobia, is an intolerance of light. Often people with this condition find sunlight, fluorescent light and incandescent light to be triggers. Squinting is a common reaction. Most light-sensitive people find only bright light to be troublesome, while in rare causes some people have issues with any type of light.
It’s important to understand that photophobia is not a disease, but rather symptomatic of an underlying condition or conditions. For example, it can stem from virus-caused illnesses or severe headaches or migraines. Corneal abrasion, uveitis and meningitis are known causes. People with a detached retina, irritations from contact lens, sunburn and refractive surgery may also experience light sensitivity. It’s also believed that people with lighter pupils may experience a greater frequency of light sensitivity compared to their darker-eyed peers, because they have less pigmentation to protect against harsh lighting. Some commonly prescribed medications, like tetracycline, may result in light sensitivity.
The good news is that treatment of the underlying cause is often the best move to alleviate light sensitivity. If medication is the trigger, it’s best to consult with your physician about discontinuing or replacing the drug.
Other courses of action are related to lifestyle. If you’re naturally sensitive to light, it’s best to avoid bright sunlight and other harsh lighting sources. If you plan to spend time outdoors in the summer months, make wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses with ultraviolet (UV) protection a part of your wardrobe. Protective eyewear, like polarized sunglasses, can also provide extra protection. Last, some people with severe cases of light sensitivity may benefit from wearing prosthetic contact lenses that are specially colored to appear natural. These special contact lenses can reduce the amount of light that enters the eye and thus ease discomfort.