Light Sensitivity Can Be Caused by Many Conditions

Photophobia, or light sensitivity, is a condition in which light hurts your eyes.  Exposure to light can cause pain or discomfort, as well as the need to close or squint your eyes.  Photophobia is not an eye disease, but rather a symptom of a number of possible conditions.


Migraines are severe headaches that can be triggered by a number of factors, such as hormonal changes, stress or the environment.  Light sensitivity is a very common symptom of migraines and many people feel the need to dim the lights during a migraine attack in order to help ease the pain.

Conditions That Affect The Brain

Photophobia can be associated with certain serious conditions that are caused by inflammation in or surrounding the brain, or bleeding near the brain, such as encephalitis, meningitis or subarachnoid hemorrhage.  These conditions can be life-threatening and immediate care should be sought if they are suspected.  Photophobia can also be caused by mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBI) or concussions.

Conditions That Affect The Eyes

Light sensitivity can also be caused by a number of eye conditions including:

  • Dry eye syndrome – tears do not provide adequate moisture
  • Conjunctivitis – also known as “pink eye”
  • Cataracts – cloudy coverings over the lenses of the eyes
  • Corneal abrasion – a scratch or injury to the cornea
  • Scleritis – inflammation of the white part of the eye

Treatment For Photophobia

Treating light sensitivity is most often accomplished by addressing the specific underlying condition.  To ease the symptoms of photophobia, try avoiding bright sunlight or wear brimmed hats, dark tinted sunglasses, polarized sunglasses or eyeglasses with photochromic lenses which darken automatically outdoors.

To understand the treatment options available for certain eye conditions, it is best to consult your eye doctor.  Family Vision Development Center can diagnose and manage many types of ocular conditions, as well as provide a wide range of eyewear options.  Visit our convenient Aurora location or call 630-862-2020 to schedule an appointment.

Full referenced articles HERE and HERE