Photophobia isn’t a deadly disease on its own but maybe a symptom of one. That’s why you ought to learn more about this eye condition, what causes it, and also how to diagnose and treat it. Being one of the symptoms of a lot of eye conditions, doctors usually take a lot of time to find out the root cause of the disease. Thus, you need something that can temporarily help you protect your eyes while the doctor figures out how to fix your eyes.
We’ll get to know about all these things, from causes to treatment and the temporary treatment that’s quite crucial, in this article today. So, stay tuned till the end to bless your eyes! Let’s start with unravelling what photophobia actually is.
What does photophobia mean?
Ever felt like squinting or unable to tolerate light? If yes, you might be suffering from photophobia. The condition is one in which the person becomes very sensitive to all forms of light, be it the blue light from our devices, fluorescent lighting, or sunlight.
What causes photophobia?
Light sensitivity aka Photophobia can be due to a lot of reasons. Many doctors say that photophobia is not really a disease. It is a symptom of underlying diseases that call for our attention through light sensitivity.
So, what is photophobia a symptom of? How is photophobia caused?
Here are the health conditions that can lead to photophobia.
Iritis: It is an inflammation in the iris, which causes light sensitivity and pain as a symptom. If not treated, the condition may lead to vision loss as well.
Uveitis: When inflammation happens in the middle layer of the eye (uvea), the condition is known as Uveitis. Light sensitivity is one of the many symptoms of this disease.
Keratitis: It is an inflammation that happens on the cornea (the clear layer in the front of our eye). The inflamed cornea leads to redness and pain along with sensitivity to bright light.
Migraine headaches: These can be of varying intensities and last for hours and sometimes even days. The symptoms include photophobia and nausea along.
Albinism: It is a congenital (inherited) disorder that results in pale skin and lack of pigmentation in the eye. As a result, a person with this condition is more prone to skin cancer and sensitivity towards light as the sun affects them much more in comparison to those with proper pigmentation. Apart from photophobia, the other eye defects that can accompany this disease are nystagmus and amblyopia.
Corneal Abrasion: It is a scratch that occurs on the cornea leading to watery eyes, redness, pain and sensitivity towards light.
Meningitis: So, what causes photophobia in meningitis? Well, to understand this we first need to know what meningitis is. It’s usually caused by an infection, viral, bacterial or fungal. The condition is an inflammation on the membranes of the brain and the spinal cord. Thus, it can easily affect the neurological processes and affect the eye nerves causing light sensitivity. A proper diagnosis and treatment are required because in many cases this light sensitivity does not stop even after meningitis has been cured.
Eye Surgery: If you have ever undergone eye surgery recently, there’s a high chance that sensitivity to bright light is a side effect of the procedure.
Foreign Body in the Eye: Any foreign body like dust, metal shaving, a chip of wood or glass, insect, chemical, etc. can damage your eyes and lead to light sensitivity.
Medications: Medicines like Quinine, Sulfonamides, Tetracycline, etc. often cause sensitivity to bright light as a side effect.
What does photophobia feel like?
Well, the answer to how does photophobia feel, in one word, is ‘uncomfortable’. It is irritating to feel sudden pain when you encounter any light source. The squinting and the closing of eyes is one symptom. But many other symptoms make it even more uncomfortable. These include nausea or dizziness, headaches for prolonged hours, blurred vision, a sore eye, numbness in any part of the body or tingling, redness, eye discharge, swelling or itching.
Sometimes you may even notice changes in the way you are able to hear things. This is especially possible if the root cause of photophobia is meningitis which causes inflammation in the membranes of the brain and spinal cord. This inflammation can result in affecting of the nerves around.
How is photophobia diagnosed?
The diagnosis for photophobia has to do with finding out what the real cause of your sensitivity towards light is. This is done by first identifying all kinds of symptoms that you might have encountered. Thus, the doctor will begin his diagnosis by asking you the right questions and understanding all kinds of symptoms you have.
He will also check your medical history and perform a physical examination- most probably both for the body and your eye.
During your physical examination of the eyes, he will check your neurological function. This assessment will be done through testing your reflexes, sensation, coordination etc. He will check every part of the eye from pupils to the retina and even blood vessels, nerves and of course, vision and eye movement as well.
All this will give the doctor an idea about what the real cause of your photophobia is. Owing to this observation, he will move ahead in the diagnosis with the help of some tests.
- These tests include,
- Brain MRI ( Magnetic Resource Imaging
- Ocular Tonometry
- OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography)
- Fluorescein angiography
- Blood tests
- Brain magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA) or computed tomography angiogram (CTA)
Once the required tests are done, the doctor will be able to pinpoint at the root cause of your photophobia and complete the diagnosis.
Can photophobia be cured? Can photophobia go away?
Yes, fortunately, photophobia can be treated. There’s no need to worry much as it is not a deadly health condition. But how can photophobia be treated? The answer to this question lies in the root cause. Once you know what caused the photophobia you have, you need to get it treated.
For instance, if dry eyes are causing photophobia in your case, you need to treat it first. Once your eyes are well-lubricated with the help of gels, ointments, eye drops or tears, then your light sensitivity will subside on its own. Similarly, if you have migraine or meningitis, you first need to get them cured in order to cure photophobia as they are the root cause. If medications are the cause to your light sensitivity, talk to your doctor and get those medications replaced with harmless alternatives. If that is not the right solution in your case, your doctor will help you find another solution.
But until you get the root cause diagnosed and treated, it’s not easy to handle light sensitivity day after day. That’s the reason why you need some tools in the form of glasses that can protect your eyes from further damage and discomfort.
Here are three kinds of glasses that can be useful:
Anti-blue light glasses:
Many people are especially sensitive to blue light. That’s because it is that part of the visible light spectrum which has the highest energy. Since our eyes aren’t able to handle so much energy, it is certain to cause discomfort in the form of photophobia, blurry vision, dry eyes, strains and headaches.
The high energy can damage even the healthiest of eyes by attacking the retina. This is a crucial part of the eye as it is the one that sends signals to the brain and helps us see. This damage to the retina can lead to a disease called age-related macular degeneration and also cataracts.
Further, blue light also affects our brains by reducing the production of the sleep hormone - melatonin- which can cause insomnia. Lack of sleep thus caused further leads to building up of neurotoxins in the brain that can even lead to depression. That’s not all, it is also noted by some experts that blue light can lead to diseases like obesity and diabetes. Thus, not only do you need anti blue light glasses to avoid your discomfort of light sensitivity but also to protect yourself from the other deadly diseases.
Photochromic glasses (Transitions)
Transitions are kind of eyeglasses that turn dark in proportion to the UV light around them as they absorb the light. So, if you go outside in the sun, the photochromic lenses will turn dark and when you come back indoors they would turn clear. The intensity of the darkness in the lenses depends on the intensity of the UV light.
These glasses save you from the hassle of handling two pairs - one that of eyeglasses and the other sunglasses - wherever you go. Plus, they keep you protected from the damage and light sensitivity as well.
You might have experienced irritation in your eyes when light reflects off a surface like a mirror or a pond. This reflected light not only causes discomfort but also is of high intensity which causes glare and consequently damages your eye.
Polarised sunglasses help block such reflected light so as to avoid the pain or irritation and the damage as well. Also, note that the reflected light can reduce visibility which must be a concern especially if you are on the road driving a vehicle or walking, as it may lead to dangerous accidents. Thus, it is recommended to use polarised sunglasses that not only help you against photophobia but also many other possible issues. If your sunglasses have an anti-UV filter, the glasses will help you protect against the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays as well.
Apart from choosing a suitable form of eyewear, you can opt for hats and caps when outdoors as they will block light from entering your eyes and causing discomfort.
Where to buy photophobia glasses?
The three kinds of photophobia glasses you can buy are anti-blue light glasses, polarised sunglasses and transition glasses. All three of these are available at Specscart at the most affordable prices. Thus, it’s no surprise we recommend you the same.
Many people have bought photophobia glasses from Specscart and enjoyed having their pair, all thanks to the incredible services that act as an icing on the cake. How do we know that? Well, through their reviews on trusted sites like Trustpilot and Google.
But what services are we talking about? Well, to start with, you can have a free of cost comprehensive eye test done at any of Sepcscart’s stores in the UK. in fact, you can even get eye tests done at the comfort of your home or workplace. Next, Specscart aims to dispatch most orders within 24 hours of receiving them. Since complex prescriptions and coatings need more time, we dispatch them in around 3 to 7 days.
To add to that, Specscart helps you save money instead of burning your pockets. We do this by offering frames at highly affordable pricing like a service of reglazing glasses through which you can send us your old frames to get new lenses in them. But for most people, that’s not even required, as Specscart brings you frames starting at a superb price of £25, that too, in stylish and flattering styles of every variety and colour.
With these, each eyewear that you buy at Specscart comes with lenses that are fully loaded with essential coatings for free. That’s right! You get a free Anti-UV coating for protection against the sun’s harmful light. A free Anti-Glare coating to save you from the reflective light. And also a Scratch-Resistant coating if you are a clumsy soul who keeps dropping your glasses.
Additionally, you also get to try 4 frames for 7 days at your convenience with our free glasses home trial service. That too, as many times as required until you find the perfect frames of your choice. Don’t worry, this service doesn’t charge you anything. We send you the package with a prepaid return label for your convenience.
Lastly, shipping is also free worldwide. And you can even return your orders within 30 days without any return fee or any questions asked.
So, get going! Choose the most appealing frames for your photophobia glasses and get fashionable as you protect your eyes and your health. The best of frames await!