What is Photophobia?

Photophobia is a medical condition in which light makes a person's eyes feel uncomfortable and may cause them to become irritated. People who suffer from photophobia experience pain, fatigue, and headaches when exposed to light. It can be debilitating and reduces a person’s quality of life.

Causes of Photophobia

The exact cause of photophobia is often unknown, however, it can be caused by a number of environmental or medical factors. These include:

  • Curable illnesses such as viral illnesses, like the common cold
  • Chronic illnesses such as migraines
  • Medications, such as those used to treat glaucoma or depression
  • Eye infections, such as conjunctivitis
  • Corneal abrasions
  • Cataracts

Symptoms of Photophobia

The most common symptom of photophobia is discomfort or pain in the eyes when exposed to light. This can be accompanied by other symptoms such as:

  • Squinting
  • Tearing
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Blurred vision

Treatments for Photophobia

The best treatment for photophobia depends on the underlying cause. In some cases, simply avoiding bright light sources or wearing sunglasses may be enough to relieve discomfort. Other treatment options include:

  • Artificial tears to soothe dry eyes
  • Eye drops to reduce inflammation
  • Special lenses to block out UV radiation
  • Medications to treat infections or underlying medical conditions
  • Light therapy or avoidance therapy

Living With Photophobia

Living with photophobia can be a challenge, as it can affect a person’s quality of life. It may be difficult to do everyday tasks such as driving, work, or walking outside in bright daylight. To manage the condition, it is important to follow treatment recommendations, wear sunglasses or tinted lenses when appropriate, and use safe lighting indoors such as indirect lighting when possible.