The first thing we do when we walk out of our house into a bright, sunny day? Squint. Our eyes get accustomed to a certain level of light and we may have difficulty when moving from one lit area into another. This sensitivity threshold is unique to each person, but some people seemingly have no threshold at all. Photophobia is an extreme sensitivity to light that may cause headaches, pain or a complete inability to function.

Causes of Photophobia

There are many possible causes of photophobia and cases can range from simple to severe. By properly identifying the cause of your sensitivity, you will be able to find out if a treatment method will be readily available to you or if a visit to your physician will be necessary. Common causes of photophobia are:

  • Migraine headaches
  • Corneal abrasion
  • Corneal ulcer
  • Improperly fitting contact lenses or overuse of contacts.
  • Burns to the eye
  • Eye disease, injury or infection
  • Uncommon exposure to well-lit areas

A person with photophobia will usually experience pain and discomfort when entering into a well-lit room. Just like any other person would squint uncomfortably when walking from a dark room into the bright sunlight, a photophobic person will constantly feel this same pain in nearly any bright area.

This sensitivity to light can be caused by a variety of reasons. While photophobia is commonly experienced as a side-effects to different medications, others may be born with the sensitivity. Those with light colored eyes are most prone to the condition, as are people with albinism, botulism or even a total color deficiency. Medically, the reason for this sensitivity to light is a dilation of the pupils which allow too much light to be let into the eye. An infection or inflammation to the eye, more specifically the iris, is the most common reason behind photophobia.

Treatments of Photophobia

Treating the condition depends on the severity of the disorder. In minor cases, the solution may be as simple as a pair of sunglasses worn in bright areas. If the cause is more severe, a visit with a professional physician is strongly recommended.

When it comes to maintaining a healthy body, your eyes are certainly nothing to take for granted. Medication can be stopped and sunglasses can be worn, but for more severe causes of photophobia it is of utmost importance to visit with a professional to work towards a working solution. If you are tired of living with an extreme sensitivity to light, do some research and find out what you can do to keep your eyes healthy.

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