Light sensitivity

Some people suffer from a low tolerance of light known as photophobia or light sensitivity. Strong flashes, sunlight, iridescent and fluorescent light can cause discomfort, prompting a person to squint, shield and close their eyes. They may also suffer from headaches and dizziness.

Most people are fine on a day-to-day basis and are only sensitive to extremely bright light. In very rare and extreme cases, even moderate daylight can be a problem. Rockstar and U2 front man Bono is famous for his dark sunglasses, which he wears to protect his eyes from bright flashes from paparazzi cameras.

What causes light sensitivity?

Light sensitivity is often a symptom of other conditions such as inflammations, infections and underlying eye damage such as corneal abrasion or a detached retina. Patients who have just undergone refractive surgeries may also experience light sensitivity.

How to treat light sensitivity?

The first step is to seek medical advice from an eye doctor who can properly assess and diagnose you. They’ll be able to tell if your light sensitivity is being caused by an underlying problem and recommend the right treatment.

Wearing dark sunglasses with UV protection is another option, which is great if you’re recovering from refractive surgery. Polarised sunglasses have added protection and can reduce irritable glare reflected from flat surfaces, light reflected off water, snow or the bonnets of a cars.

Quick links:

A guide to conjunctivitis
What are polarised sunglasses?
Protecting eyes from UV rays
Do I need an eye test?