Understanding Photophobia

Understanding Photophobia - Global Eye Hospital

As soon as you’ve seen phobia in the title, you think it is the fear of photos, but it’s not. It is the sensitivity to light, known as light sensitivity. This means you face trouble looking in that direction whenever you get exposed to bright light. In some cases, it causes severe pain.

When you face discomfort looking toward a light source or simply being in a well-lit environment, you have Photophobia, which signals that you are diagnosed with another eye condition.

Photophobia symptoms

The following are the symptoms of Photophobia according to different scenarios.

  • Feeling uncomfortable in a well-lit area.
  • Difficulty driving at night time due to high-intensity lights from opposite vehicles.
  • Burning sensation in eyes when exposed to sunlight
Car headlamps - Understanding Photophobia,  Global Eye Hospital
High beam headlights of a car

What causes Photophobia?

Photophobia itself is not an eye condition. It is a symptom of other eye conditions. The following is the list of most common eye conditions which can cause Photophobia as one of their symptoms.

  • Migraine:

A Migraine is a headache with an intensity which varies from time to time. People who suffer from Migraines feel sensitivity to light and sound and sometimes nausea. Migraine headaches are more likely to occur in women than men. It is estimated that more than 10% of people worldwide are diagnosed with Migraine.

Migraine - Understanding Photophobia, Global Eye Hospital
Migraine
  • Dry eyes condition:

People suffering from dry eyes have a problem related to their tear ducts. The issue will be either tears of the required quantity are not being generated, or the quality is lacking. This results in low moisture and makes the eyes dry up. Tears are the natural lubricant to keep the eyes from drying up. So, when light falls upon the eyes, they can’t bear the intensity of light and begin to cause pain and uneasiness. 

Dry eyes condition is most common nowadays due to certain lifestyles and rising pollution levels.

Dry eyes - Understanding Photophobia, Global Eye Hospital
Dry eyes
  • Conjunctivitis:

Due to certain viruses and bacteria, the upper layer of the white part of the eye ( Sclera ) gets infected, causing the pink eye condition. This makes the eye’s upper layer insensitive, making it hard to look in a well-lit environment or in the direction of the eye. This infection mainly occurs in the winter season.

Conjunctivitis - Understanding Photophobia, Global Eye Hospital
Conjunctivitis

Diagnosis of Photophobia

Visit an Ophthalmologist for the proper diagnosis of Photophobia condition. The following is the list of tests they might perform to evaluate your situation. 

  1. Magnetic resonance imaging ( MRI ) might be performed to get clear 3d pictures of your eyes.
  2. A tear drainage test involves placing a dye on the surface of your eye, which your tears will wash off. Your tear ducts are blocked if the dye is still in your eye after 5 minutes from placing it. A tear film test might also be conducted.
  3. Your eyes will be examined with a slit-lamp, a piece of special microscope equipment used to examine the eye in close range.
MRI - Understanding Photophobia, Global Eye Hospital
MRI

Treatment for Photophobia

As we mentioned earlier, Photophobia is not an eye condition; it is a symptom of an eye condition. The mentioned tests might be performed based on your symptoms, or specific tests will be done to diagnose your eye condition. 

Treatment mainly includes medication to treat the underlying eye condition which caused the Photophobia. In most cases, tinted dark shades will be prescribed to cover the eyes until the Photophobia condition is treated.

Conclusion

When you are feeling the symptoms mentioned above, get an appointment with an ophthalmologist to check your eyes thoroughly. After proper examination, the doctor will diagnose your condition and suggest the necessary treatment and medication. They might even recommend you to wear dark tinted shades to provide cover for your eyes until your eye condition is cured. 

Any eye condition occurs if we overwork our eyes more than their limit. Do take good care of your eyes to avoid any possible eye conditions.

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