Photophobia: Why are Your Eyes Sensitive to Light?

Photophobia why your eyes are sensitive t light | Night Eye
In folklores and different forms of entertainment media such as movies or books, there are several fictional creatures that seem to be afraid or greatly affected by light. One such creature, and arguably the most famous one among them are the vampires. Other than their blood-sucking tendencies, vampires are also widely known for their extreme fear of sunlight, which is quite understandable since they literally turn to ash just from a moment of exposure. Hence, they usually just sleep the day away.

Thankfully, there is still no concrete evidence that vampires really do exist in the real world or we would have to deal with oversized mosquitoes every night. However, what if I tell you that there are people out there that although does not actively feed on blood, have the same aversion as these fictional creatures towards any light sources? These people have a condition called photophobia and we will talk about it in this article.

What is photophobia?

To put it as simple as possible, photophobia, or light sensitivity, is a condition where the eyes feel discomfort or pain when perceiving visible light, which could be any light source ranging from small lightbulbs to sunlight. Although it has the "phobia" in its name, it is not actually a type of phobia, in a psychological sense since having photophobia does not necessarily mean that you fear light sources due to some reason. LIght just hurts your eyes which is why you avoid seeing them too much when you have it. However, when the pain comes too often and becomes too much to handle, those who have photophobia would generally develop a legitimate psychological condition called heliophobia, which is the genuine fear of sunlight or bright lights.

What causes photophobia?

When you have photophobia, you become extremely sensitive to light. However, photophobia itself is just a symptom that manifested due to some underlying condition which you need to identify first in order to determine the appropriate method you could use to cure it or lessen its effects. Some of the conditions that directly cause light sensitivity are listed below:

Those bouts with headaches that you occasionally have can cause light sensitivity. In fact, according to a study conducted by the National Headache Foundation, 80% of the people who have migraines reported that they also become sensitive to light during their episodes. This is usually just temporary though and once your headache goes away, your sensitivity to light would also most likely go away along with it. However, people who are experiencing chronic migraines would have to deal with light sensitivity as well, which makes it a permanent case for them.

2.Eye conditions and injuries
Eye injuries such as corneal abrasion as well as conditions such as conjunctivitis, or commonly known as "pink eye" could also cause light sensitivity. Eye injuries are considered to be medical emergencies so you have to seek immediate care to prevent infection which could possibly make you permanently blind.

3.Brain conditions
Brain conditions such as encephalitis or meningitis could also cause sensitivity to light. These conditions are caused by viruses or bacteria that leads to the inflammation of the brain. If left unchecked, it might become severe and can even ultimately lead to death.

How to treat photophobia?

Normally, photophobia is only temporary and would go away once the underlying condition that caused it was dealt with. Hence, in order to not aggravate your condition, you could temporarily stay away from bright lights or wear tinted glasses to provide relief for your eyes. If you are working with computers or just wants to browse for entertainment, you could make use of the site's dark mode function to make the screen less bright and bearable enough for you.

However, some websites do not have this function so you need to find other means for you to continue working or doing what you love even if you are experiencing light sensitivity. Thankfully, if you have Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome as your web browser, you can install an extension called Night Eye. This extension gives you the ability to enable dark mode to nearly all existing websites out there to help you cope with your photophobia. Night eye also has a blue light filter function which you could enable to further lessen the strain that your eyes are experiencing while spending time in front of your computer.

On the other hand, if you are experiencing severe light sensitivity, you should consult your doctor immediately to help you find out the underlying cause as well as for you to undergo the necessary treatment to deal with it.

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