What are some common causes of light sensitivity?

Photophobia or light sensitivity is a medical condition in which bright light hurts the eyes. It’s an eye condition associated with various medical conditions such as migraine, meningitis and dry eyes. Its symptoms might range from minor irritation to extreme pain. In mild cases, people might squint in bright light or experience a minor headache. Although anyone can develop
light sensitivity, people with lighter eye colour are at higher risk of photophobia. Dark eyes have more pigment to protect the eyes against light sensitivity. Some of our best eye specialist in Kolkata share common causes of light sensitivity: 

  1. Dry eyes:  One of the most common causes of photophobia is dry eyesDry eyes could be due to ageing or due to changes in hormones. Diseases such as Sjogren’s syndrome and Parkinson’s disease can also lead to dry eyes. It can be a side effect of medication such as antidepressants, chemotherapy drugs, and more. 

Treatment of dry eyes can include medications that may lead to light sensitivity. Some of the symptoms of dry eye are:

  •  Light sensitivity 
  • Red-itchy eyes
  • Eye pain
  • Blurred vision
  • Constant feeling of something in the eyes 

    Migraine: Migraine is a neurological condition that causes severe headaches. In migraine, light could trigger the pain and worsen the headache. Some of the other triggering causes include hormonal changes, stress, and anxiety. Sometimes alcohol, caffeinated beverages, and processed food can also act as a trigger for light for migraine and associated light sensitivity. Some of the symptoms of migraine include:

  • Sensitivity to light or sound
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fatigue
  • Numbness in the body 

    Eye Strain: Eye Strain occurs when the eyes get tired from intense use. It can be due to over-focusing the eyes on one particular thing which leads to exhaustion of the eyes. For instance, driving and using a computer for a long time can lead to eye strain. Digital eye strain is quite common among people. Generally, the symptoms of eye strain go away with little rest to the eyes. For this, simply shut the eyes in between the task or use gel eye masks to get a little relief. Taking frequent breaks can also help. You can reduce computer glare by using a matte screen filter.

Here are a few symptoms of eye strains:

  • Sensitivity to light
  • Blurry vision
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Sore eyes 

    Blepharitis: Blepharitis or eyelid inflammation occurs when the oil glands in eyelids are clogged. This can happen due to use of eye makeup. Psoriasis, allergies, bacteria and tiny insects can also cause blepharitis. Eyelid inflammation should ideally be treated by an eye specialist.  Makeup should not be applied on the affected eye as it may worsen the situation. Here are a few symptoms of blepharitis:

  • Sensitivity to light
  • Swollen- itchy eyelids
  • Dandruff-like flakes on the eyelids
  • Abnormal growth of eyelashes or falls out easily

Conjunctivitis (pink eyes): Conjunctivitis can be due to viral and bacterial infection or could be due to some allergy leading to reddish-pink inflammatory eyes. It is highly contagious. For the treatment of conjunctivitis, the eye specialist can prescribe some eye drops and antibiotics. Here are a few symptoms of conjunctivitis:

  • Sensitivity to light
  • Constant feeling of something in the eyes
  • Watery discharge form the eyes
  • Red inflammatory eyes

Keratitis (cornea infection): It is the inflammation of the cornea. It can be due to viral and bacterial infection, due to an eye injury, or wearing contact lenses for too long. The eye specialist may recommend some antibiotics and ask to not wear contact lenses for some time. Symptoms of keratitis include:

  • Sensitivity to light
  • Eye pain with redness
  • Blurred vision
  • Difficulty in opening your eyes 

    Corneal abrasion: Corneal Abrasion can be quite painful. They can range from a minor superficial scratch to major corneal abrasion and need immediate medical attention. It can develop due to any foreign particle such as dirt or sand particles in the eye. Symptoms of corneal abrasion are:

  • Sensitivity to light
  • Blurry vision
  • Redness
  • Eye discharge
  • Constant feeling of something in the eyes

Scleritis: It is a deep eye pain that extends to the face. Mainly people with autoimmune disorders are more likely to have scleritis. For this, an eye specialist should be immediately consulted. Here are a few symptoms of scleritis:

  • Sensitivity to lights
  • Severe pain in both the eyes
  • Eye inflammation
  • Tearing 

    Encephalitis or meningitis: It is the inflammation of the brain tissues. It can be due to viruses, bacteria, or fungi. In some cases, both encephalitis and meningitis can occur at the same time. In mild cases, a headache and light sensitivity can be the symptoms. But in severe cases, it can be fatal. It is advisable to consult the doctor immediately. Here are a few symptoms:

  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Headache
  • Confusion 
  • Neck stiffness
  • Seizure

Our best eye specialists in Kolkata suggest the following tips to prevent photophobia: 

  • Those suffering from migraine should avoid triggers such as loud noises,  harsh light and certain foods. This can help reduce the chances of migraine attacks. 
  • Avoid contact with people having meningitis, wash hands regularly, and get immunisation for bacterial meningitis. 
  • Get a vaccination for encephalitis. 

Looking for the best eye specialist in Kolkata? 

We, at Disha Eye Hospitals, provide comprehensive ophthalmology care. Our skilled and dedicated eye specialists offer a wide range of eye care services to protect your vision. From regular eye checkups to cataract treatment, from LASIK to glaucoma treatment, we are a one-stop destination for all eye-related issues. Find the nearest branch to book an appointment.   

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