What Contributes to the Eye’s Light Sensitivity?

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Understanding What is Photophobia

The level of the eye’s light sensitivity can vary throughout a person’s life. Sensitivity to light is a condition known as photophobia, and is not a disease, but rather a symptom caused by many different factors. While it may be something very easy to manage, it can also indicate a serious underlying condition, so it is important to know what contributes to this sensitivity.

  • Light eye color.  People with a lighter eye color have less pigment to protect their eyes from the sun. They should be careful to always wear sunglasses to avoid damaging their vision.
  • Injury to the eye. Corneal abrasions, damage to the lens or iris of the eye can all lead to increased light sensitivity..
  • Uveitis. Uveitis is a serious inflammation of the middle layer of the eye and can lead to blindness. Sensitivity to light is one of the symptoms of uveitis, along with redness, blurred vision, dark floating spots, and eye pain.
  • Central nervous system disorders. Nervous system disorders, like meningitis, encephalitis, autism, and even dyslexia can leave eyes vulnerable to photophobia.
  • Illnesses. Certain illnesses, such as botulism, rabies, mercury poisoning, conjunctivitis, keratitis, and iritis can also cause light sensitivity. There are also rare genetic disorders that are reported to cause photophobia. Migraines are also associated with sensitivity to light.
  • Cataracts. Photophobia is one of the symptoms of cataracts and often goes away once the cataract is removed.
  • Medication.  Medications such as tetracycline and doxycycline can cause sensitivity to light, as can belladonna, furosemide, and quinine.

If your eye’s sensitivity to light is troublesome, see an eye care provider. Often, once the underlying cause is treated, the photophobia goes away. Of course, some people will just be naturally sensitive to light, in which case they should wear wide brimmed hats and sunglasses with ultraviolet protection.Dallas LASIK surgeon Dr. Tylock can help you to determine what is causing your sensitivity, and how best to treat it. With a staff that is committed to excellence in patient care, and over twenty years in the field of ophthalmologic medicine, Tylock-George Eye Care & Laser Center is an excellent choice for anyone in the Dallas area.