Sensitivity to light, or photophobia, can cause discomfort when one comes in contact with either or both natural light or artificial light. Those who experience this discomfort often have headaches and will feel the need to squint or shield their eyes from the source of light, which can be difficult here in Arizona since the sun is bright, and so are the sidewalks. Most often, brighter lights are what causes discomfort, however, depending on the severeness of the light sensitivity, any level of light can trigger the photophobia.
Unfortunately, like most things, there isn’t a single cause of light sensitivity, which can make it hard to determine the best way to reduce sensitivity. Fatigue, stress, visual strain, sickness or infection, and inflammation are all players when it comes to the game of what causes photophobia. Certain chemicals in some medication can even cause this discomfort. Not only can illnesses unrelated to vision cause sensitivity to light, but people with a lighter eye color can also be more likely to have issues with photophobia as their eyes contain less pigment that protects against bright lighting.
If you have an increased sensitivity to light, talk to your optometrist to try to determine the cause of the sensitivity and the best plan for you to help resolve it. For some, the treatment might be as simple as getting more sleep, while for others, treatment might mean investing in a good pair of sunglasses. Dr. Amy Thomas here at Arizona Vision Therapy Center is always happy to help solve this issue with her patients, and has special lenses that are worn for a specific amount of time for a prescribed amount of days, which help rebalance the body and calm symptoms of photophobia.