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Photophobia, commonly known as light sensitivity, is a condition that affects individuals of all ages. It manifests as discomfort, pain, and aversion to light exposure. Whether it’s the bright sun, incandescent bulbs, or fluorescent lights, photophobia can significantly impact daily life.

Symptoms of Photophobia

The most obvious symptom is sensitivity to bright and sometimes moderate light. Another symptom is seeing bright coloured spots that can appear even when the eyes are closed.

Some people experience eye pain or discomfort and headaches when looking at the light. Some experience tearing, squinting and a desire to close their eyes.

Causes of Photophobia

  • Corneal Abrasion: A scratch or injury to the cornea.
  • Uveitis: Inflammation of the middle layer of the eye.
  • Detached Retina: Separation of the retina from its normal position.
  • Contact Lens Irritation: Improper fit or allergic reactions.
  • Sunburn: Excessive UV radiation exposure.
  • Refractive Surgery: A common side effect.
  • Color Blindness: Certain types exhibit light sensitivity.
  • Conjunctivitis: Inflamed conjunctiva.

As you can see, some of these causes are from daily activities like exposure to the sun, or accidents like injury to the cornea. One must practice basic daily care to protect the eyes from damage and conditions like this.

When to Seek Medical Attention

Seek medical attention early enough for correct diagnosis and treatment if this condition interferes with your daily life. If your eyes still hurt when the light isn’t too bright, it’s time to see the doctor. If you notice accompanying symptoms like headaches, red eyes or blurry vision, visit the doctor.

Treatment and Self-Care

There are a few ways to combat photophobia on your own.

  • Adapt your eyes to the light gradually. Get them used to brighter light gently. You can use a switch with a dimmer that you increase every 30 minutes.
  • Wear sunglasses when outdoors.
  • If you use contact lenses, use them properly to protect your corneas.
  • Take breaks from screens to rest your eyes. The glow from these devices can cause eyestrain.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Sleep at least 7 hours at night.
  • Reduce glare by covering reflexive surfaces.


Photophobia can be temporary or chronic, and its underlying cause varies. If you experience persistent symptoms, consult a healthcare professional. Understanding photophobia empowers you to manage it effectively and maintain eye health.

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