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Light Sensitivity: Causes and cures for Photophobia
Photophobia is a term that is used to refer to the natural squinting when one moves from a dim light to a bright light, usually the sun. For instance, when the sun is too much, it is only natural for you to cover your eyes and limit the amount of sunlight getting into the eye. In addition to that, it is also a condition that causes symptoms which are beyond a normal response to bright light. When this condition happens, it can result to a patient being uncomfortable, and it may also disrupt their daily activities.
What is Photophobia?
This is a condition where an individual is intolerant to light. It is the intolerance of light, and can also be referred to as light sensitivity. Any bright source of light can result to this discomfort, and some of the sources can include fluorescent light, sunlight or incandescent light. Consequently, many light sensitive patients are only bothered with bright light, but there are some cases where other people are bothered by any type of light exposure. If a person who is light sensitive encounters a bright light, it is natural for them to squint or even close their eyes. Some people also experience symptoms such as headaches.
Moreover, there are temporary reactions that occur when a photosensitive person is outside or in a brightly lit room. On the contrary, severe cases of the same can hurt and can in turn lead to medical emergencies due to the extreme pain when exposed to any type of light.
What causes light sensitivity?
Most people think that photophobia is an eye disease, when in real sense it is a symptom that indicates an eye condition which in turn causes irritation such as infection or inflammation to the eye. Sensitivity to light also occurs when one has other health conditions that do not affect the eyes directly such as migraines and other viral infections. There are risk factors that increase the likelihood of a person experiencing light sensitivity. Some of the risk factors include;

  • Migraines
  • Meningitis
  • Detached retina
  • Uveitis
  • Central Nervous System Disorder
  • Corneal abrasion
  • Refractive surgery
  • Sunburn
  • Irritation from contact lenses
  • Rabies
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Mercury poisoning
  • Botulism

Furthermore, people who have lighter eye color also experience sensitivity to light because they do not have more pigment in the eye. Dark colored individuals on the other hand have increased pigment which provides protection against the brighter lights. Moreover, there are other people who experience light sensitivity because of the medications that they are using in their eye. This means that there are many causes of light sensitivity some of which include medication being used in the eye, the color of the eye, and migraines or viral infections.
How can photophobia be alleviated or cured?
Photophobia occurs as a symptom of an underlying health condition. It is important that the underlying factor be treated with the most appropriate approach. The cause of the problem should first be identified by a professional before medication is provided. This is done to manage the condition to prevent it from getting worse. You can easily do away with this condition if the triggers are treated earlier. Some of the treatment options that are available include the following;

  • Antibiotics: antibiotic eye drops help in treating the abrasion of the cornea.
  • Change of medication: if you are using medication and you realize that it is giving you some serious side effects then you should consult with your doctor to determine if your eye medication can be changed.
  • Anti-inflammatory: if the medication is causing inflammation then anti-inflammatories will be given to help in alleviating the condition.
  • Surgery: this is a method of curing photophobia if the underlying cause is a subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Managing Light Sensitivity
Most of the time, you can tell from the weather, whether or not you will be exposed to light. You should take precautions just in case the weather changes and you need to manage your sensitivity to light. Some of the ways that you can adopt to manage light sensitivity include the following.

  • Avoid direct contact with the sun and harsh indoor lights whenever you can.
  • The sun makes the summer season the best time to go on a vacation. If you are planning to go on a vacation and you are sensitive to light, then carry a wide hat to shield you from the sun when you are sitting by the beach.
  • Us sunglasses that contain the UV protection. This blocks too much sun from getting into contact with your eyes. You will experience a whole new level of comfort when using these sunglasses.
  • Consult with your eye doctor so that he can determine if photochomatic lenses are the best for you. These types of lenses get dark when you are in the sun hence no exposure to the eye.
  • Patient who experience severe eye pain might wear contact lenses for some period of time when they are in the sun to help protect their eye.

Is seeking medical care an option
People experiencing minor light sensitivity can manage this problem on their own. Sunglasses work well in this situation and avoiding brightly lit areas also offers the best solution. Most of the time, light sensitivity can be handled by an individual and is never any cause for an alarm. However, light sensitivity is also a symptom of an underlying health condition which should be looked into before it gets worse. If you are experiencing severe eye discomfort then it is best that you seek medical care and consult with your doctor on the best options for managing your eye condition. Find a professional who can give you the right direction to follow and how to handle the eye problem. If you are not experiencing any eye problem, but you notice that any of your family members is having some of the symptoms of light sensitivity, you can help them seek medical attention. For instance, a child might not know whether or not he or she is having underlying eye condition, but you will hear them say “my eye is hurting”. When they say this immediately they are from the sun, then you should consult an eye expert.