Photophobia is also known as light sensitivity and people affected with this disorder feel uncomfortable working in bright lights. The range of severity may vary from complete intolerance to any type of lighting to discomfort feeling for high powered lights. The source that causes sensitivity may range anything from sunlight to candles or even fires. Photophobia is a symptom of underlying condition and not a disease.
This disorder can occur to people of any age ranging from young to old-age.
The affected person will have sensitivity to light and great discomfort. Very often the person will close his eyes while facing bright lighting. He would also have a need to squint. In addition there may be burning sensation in his eyes when he is exposed to powerful lighting. However the symptoms of one person may vary from the other since the rate of sensitivity differs. It also depends on the intensity with which the person has been affected with the disorder to light sensitivity.
For some people, there may be swelling and whitish discharge from the eyes when they are exposed to light. Some people may get headache and feel nauseated on seeing bright lighting.
Photophobia is not a disease but it is indicative of the underlying condition of the person. This disorder can be a sign of several other problems of the affected person. There can be many causes for light sensitivity. It can be due to infection or inflammation of the eye membranes or due to lack of pigmentation in the eyes. Irritation from the contact lens and corneal abrasions can also cause photophobia. Certain eye disease like uveitis can also be the reason for light sensitivity. People who have undergone refractive surgery will have sensitivity to light for some months.
Medications like amphetamines, digitoxin and drugs like cocaine can also cause photophobia. Individuals who suffer from psychiatric problems like bipolar disorder, anxiety and depression can also develop light sensitivity.
Persons who are subjected to mercury poison and rabies infection can get this problem.
The causes of photophobia include infection like meningitis, migraine headaches, viral infection, cataracts, sunburn and disorder in the nervous system. People who are wearing badly fitting contact lenses may also have this problem.
Your doctor will look for the underlying cause for helping you to relieve from the symptoms. Very often, if the causative factors are addressed, photophobia gradually wanes and disappears. You need to talk openly with your ophthalmologist so that she can identify the real cause that is responsible for photophobia.
In case if the problem is due to eye inflammation or infection it can be treated by giving appropriate medicines. If intake of medications is the cause for photophobia then your doctor will find suitable alternative medicine.
People who are naturally sensitive to sunlight should wear proper protective sunglasses to avoid getting exposed to direct UV radiation. For some people your doctor will prescribe prosthetic contact lenses to match the eye color to resolve this issue.
Drugs like voltaren ophthalmic and acular are prescribed for treating patients with photophobia. In many cases, the person will be given counseling and behavior therapy for resolving the problem. Very often, the psychologist will use exposure therapy and relaxation techniques like visualization and controlled breathing for treating this disorder.
That apart, your doctor will suggest certain lifestyle modifications like quitting smoking and reducing the intake of alcohol. Practice slow driving and avoid night driving to protect your eyes from being subjected to glaring affects of powerful lights.