According to a study conducted by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, light sensitivity affects approximately 20% of the U.S. population.

Light sensitivity, also known as photophobia, is a common symptom experienced by many people. It occurs when the eyes become overly sensitive to light, making it difficult to perform regular activities in bright environments. In this blog post, we will discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatments of light sensitivity, so you can understand how to manage this condition and get relief.

Shedding Light on the Causes of Light Sensitivity: What Every Patient Needs to Know

There are several reasons why someone may experience light sensitivity. Some of the most common causes include:

  • Dry Eye or Ocular Surface Disease: When the front of the eye has dry spots or another condition that prevents light from passing through, this can cause bursts of light and increased sensitivity.
  • Eye Color: Patients with lighter-colored eyes, like blue, tend to be more light sensitive due to the amount of light that enters the back of the eye.
  • Cataracts and Other Eye Diseases: Glare and light sensitivity can occur as a symptom of certain eye diseases like cataracts.
  • Ocular Albinism: This rare genetic condition affects the structures within the eye and can cause severe light sensitivity.
  • Migraines or Headaches: Lights can trigger migraines, and light sensitivity can occur as a symptom of migraines or headaches.
  • Macular degenerationOne of the early symptoms of macular degeneration is ligh sensitivity or photophobia.

Blinded by the Light: Signs and Symptoms of Light Sensitivity

The primary symptom of light sensitivity is a discomfort or pain in the eyes when exposed to bright light. This may include headaches or migraines. Other symptoms include squinting, tearing, and closing the eyes. In severe cases, patients may also experience nausea or dizziness.

In addition to these common symptoms, light sensitivity can also manifest as an aversion to specific types of light, such as fluorescent or LED lighting. This can make it difficult to function in certain environments, such as offices or grocery stores. Furthermore, light sensitivity can be a symptom of an underlying eye condition, such as dry eye syndrome, cataracts, or ocular albinism. As such, it's important to schedule an appointment with your optometrist if you're experiencing light sensitivity, especially if the symptoms persist or worsen over time. We can perform a comprehensive eye exam to determine the underlying cause of your light sensitivity and recommend appropriate treatments or management strategies.

From Tinted Lenses to Polarized Sunglasses: A Guide to Treating Light Sensitivity

The first step in treating light sensitivity is to identify the underlying cause of the condition. Your eye doctor can help you determine the cause and recommend treatment options. Some common treatments for light sensitivity include:

  • Treating Dry Eye or Ocular Surface Disease: Once the cause of your dry eye is evaluated your eye doctor can recommend an appropriate treatment for you. There are a wide variety of treatments available for ocular surface disease to alleviate dryness, improve visual outcomes, reduce light sensitivity, and improve comfort.
  • Wearing Sunglasses: Polarized sunglasses can be effective in reducing glare and light sensitivity.
  • Using Tinted Lenses: Certain tints, such as pink, rose, or amber, can help cut out certain wavelengths of light that contribute to light sensitivity and make headaches feel better.
  • Managing Migraines: Patients with migraines or headaches may benefit from using tinted lenses to reduce light sensitivity. In some cases, a neurologist may also recommend medication to manage migraines.
  • Managing Eye Disease: In the event that your light sensitivity is a result of an eye disease such as macular degeneration or cataracts, properly managing your condition is a crucial step in your treatment plan.
Schedule with eye doctors for a comprehensive exam at our renowned optometry clinic in Olympia, attracting patients from Lakewood, Tacoma, and Lacey. Call (360) 491-2121 or fill out this form to make an appointment today.
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