Should You Be Worried About Photophobia?


Photophobia is a painful reaction to light, which is characterized by burning or stinging in the eyes, tearing, or other discomfort caused by natural or artificial light. In severe cases, discomfort may occur even if the lighting is not very bright.

Anyone can sometimes expreriencediscomfort from the bright sun or when leaving a dark room. At first, you squint, it is difficult to distinguish objects, and your eyes may water. This is a normal reaction: if you blink or just wait a bit, the bright light will no longer cause discomfort.

Photophobia is a pathological condition. With this diagnosis, you can't feel comfortable in a bright room, and your eyes will not be able to adapt even after a few minutes. Discomfort can occur not only from the sun but also from artificial light.

It is worth clarifying that photophobia is not an independent disease but a symptom of other diseases of the eyes or nervous system. Therefore, you should not ignore it. It is important to ask your ophthalmologist for treatment in order to avoid serious health problems.

The Possible Causes of Photophobia

Fear of light can manifest itself in different ways:, burning, a feeling of sand or pain in the eyes, a desire to squint at the sun or other bright light source, completely close your eyes or cover them with your hand.

Sensitivity to light can be temporary, provoked by external causes, eye injury, etc. Or it can be permanent, for example, associated with structural features of the eye. The cause can be one of the listed below.

  • Mechanical damage to the tissues of the eye (burn, bruise, foreign body, etc.). The peculiarity of the disease, in this case, is that sensitivity to light is characteristic only for the injured eye, and the healthy one calmly perceives light. An additional symptom is part of the pain in the eye, headache, tearing, redness, decreased visual acuity.
  • Taking medications. Photosensitivity may occur as a side effect of taking a drug not associated with the organ of vision (for example, a sedative) or may be directly related to the action of eye drugs (eye drops that dilate the pupils). In both cases, it is usually enough to stop taking medications.
  • Working at a computer, watching TV for a long time, overwork. They are faced by people who are forced to sit in front of a monitor screen for many hours (especially without a break), read a lot, work with documents, small details, drive a car, etc. Constant tension affects the condition of the tissues, and this, in turn, provokes various reactions. Dry eye syndrome, eye pain, blurred vision, lacrimation, and decreased visual acuity also speak of overwork. Photophobia can go away if you get more rest, wear computer glasses or reduce the time you work at the computer.
  • Work in a dark room. In this case, the eyes get used to the lack of light and can no longer perceive bright light.
  • Heliophobia. This is a psychological disorder in which a person is afraid to go out into the sun. The reason is not in the sun itself but in the fear of getting skin cancer. Therefore, on the street, the patient always wears a hat, clothes with long sleeves, and hides their eyes behind sunglasses. As a result, they get used to insufficient illumination and no longer perceive normal light. In especially severe cases, heliophobes do not go out at all during the day. Heliophobia can develop into social phobia, as communication with people implies that you need to leave the house.
  • Work in a dry room. This happens if the room has air conditioning. The main symptom, in this case, is a feeling of sand in the eyes, and the cause of photophobia is dry eye syndrome.
  • Congenital pathologies. Violations in the perception of light can occur in people with albinism or with anomalies in the development of the eyeball. It is also known that green eyes are more sensitive to light due to the low concentration of melanin, which protects against UV rays.

An ophthalmologist, a neurologist, or an endocrinologist can work with photophobia treatment. But before making a diagnosis, you should consult an ophthalmologist. They will conduct an initial diagnosis and, if necessary, give a referral to another specialist. 

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Friday, 19 July 2024