What Causes Light Sensitivity in Eyes?

Light sensitivity, or photophobia

Light sensitivity, or photophobia, is a condition where the eyes are overly sensitive to light. Several factors can contribute to this sensitivity, and it may be a symptom of an underlying issue. Some common causes of light sensitivity in the eyes include:

  • Corneal abrasions or injuries: Damage to the cornea, the clear front surface of the eye, can result in increased sensitivity to light.
  • Infections: Eye infections, such as conjunctivitis (pink eye) or uveitis, can cause light sensitivity as part of their symptoms.
  • Dry eyes: Insufficient tear production or poor tear quality can lead to dry eyes, causing discomfort and sensitivity to light.
  • Migraines: People who suffer from migraines may experience sensitivity to light during a migraine attack. This is often accompanied by other symptoms such as headache and nausea.
  • Iritis: Iritis is inflammation of the iris, the colored part of the eye. It can cause light sensitivity, eye pain, and blurred vision.
  • Corneal problems: Conditions affecting the cornea, such as keratitis or corneal dystrophies, can result in light sensitivity.
  • Cataracts: Clouding of the eye’s natural lens due to cataracts can cause glare and sensitivity to light.
  • Conjunctival inflammation: Inflammation of the conjunctiva, the thin membrane covering the white part of the eye, can lead to light sensitivity.
  • Certain medications: Some medications, including certain antibiotics, antihistamines, and psychiatric drugs, may cause light sensitivity as a side effect.
  • Neurological conditions: Conditions affecting the nervous system, such as meningitis or traumatic brain injury, may lead to increased sensitivity to light.
  • Albinism: People with albinism have reduced pigment in their eyes, skin, and hair, making them more sensitive to light.

If you are experiencing persistent light sensitivity, it’s important to consult with an eye care professional for a comprehensive eye examination. They can help determine the underlying cause and recommend appropriate treatment. In some cases, addressing the underlying condition or using strategies like wearing sunglasses, adjusting lighting conditions, or using artificial tears can help manage light sensitivity.

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