Photophobia is a severe sensitivity to bright light which can result in discomfort and even pain. It can vary from person to person with discomfort coming from lights that don’t ordinarily affect others, including natural outdoor light, overhead lighting (such as fluorescent light), reflected light or flames of a fire.
Although in most cases photophobia is harmless, it is NOT an eye disease, but may be a symptom of an underlying problem. These could include an infection or abrasion that irritates the eye, a viral illness, medications, severe headache or migraine.
It could also be the result of your unique physical makeup. A person’s eye color can also affect ones sensitivity to light. People with lighter colored eyes can be more sensitive to light as opposed to people with darker eyes. An examination by an eye doctor can help determine the cause of your sensitivity.
The best treatment option for relieving the discomfort of photophobia is to address the underlying cause. The answer may be as simple as changing a medication or treating a corneal abrasion. Or your photophobia could be the clue that alerts doctors to another treatable condition. If you are naturally sensitive to light, wearing sunglasses with UV protection, brimmed hats or avoiding bright light situations are the only alternatives. In most cases, if you treat the underlying cause, the sensitivity will decrease or disappear.