If you think you’re experiencing photophobia, it’s a good idea to see your optometrist. We can take a look at how healthy your eyes are and see how we can help.
During your appointment, we will ask you questions about your symptoms and medical history. We will also examine your eyes to check for issues such as inflammation, dry eyes, or signs of eye disease or damage. We may also refer you to an ophthalmologist or doctor for further tests, such as blood tests or brain scans.
Photophobia Causes and Treatment
Photophobia³ ⁴ can be a symptom of many different conditions. Treating this will depend on the cause of the eye sensitivity, so diagnosis is important.
There are many eye conditions that can cause sensitivity to light.
Migraines and headaches
Migraines are moderate to severe headaches that usually appear along with other symptoms, including nausea, vomiting, as well as sensitivity to light and sound. They are the most common causes of photophobia.
Other types of headaches like cluster or tension headaches can also cause photosensitivity. If this is the case, treatment usually involves rest and medication.
Side Effects of Medication
Some medications can cause sensitivity to light including some antibiotics, some medications used to treat fluid retention and some antimalarial drugs. Photophobia symptoms should improve once you stop taking the medication.
Relieving Symptoms of Photophobia
Once you’ve been diagnosed and you’re waiting for treatment to take effect, there are ways to manage your symptoms. The easiest is wearing sunglasses in bright light, or trying to avoid bright light all together. Also try to avoid wearing sunglasses indoors, as this can make photosensitivity worse. Pain medications can also help with headaches, and eye drops can help if your eyes are dry.
If you are affected by photophobia and would like to learn more about local support groups or forums of people affected by light sensitivity, please contact the NHS for more information.
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