If your eyes are extremely sensitive to light, it is very likely that you suffer from photophobia. It is a symptom usually caused by other ocular pathologies or
neurological that could cause pain and discomfort in the eyes under intense light conditions.
Despite the strangeness of its name, photophobia is a condition for which many patients feel pain or inability to open their eyes when they are exposed to intense light conditions. It can not be said that this condition is a disease, rather it is a symptom that may be caused by other pathologies.
As a general rule, this annoying symptom is usually caused by other eye problems or neurological causes. However, suffering from photophobia can reduce the quality of life. For this reason, the main recommendation for those who suffer this type of symptoms is that they go to the consultation of their ophthalmologist so that the problem can be evaluated and the main cause can be identified. Treating the associated disease is the best way to solve this symptom.
How is photophobia detected?
The most common is that those suffering from this feature suffer certain discomfort in the eyes when they have an intense and bright light in front of them. The lighting conditions of the moment and the place usually influence a lot in the ocular discomfort related to photophobia. The constant tearing, the inability to open the eyes and orbital pain are the most frequent indacadores that we suffer photophobia. Obviously this happens because the eye activates its defense mechanism to protect itself against the conditions that, due to circumstances, are harmful to it.
As we have said before, photophobia can not be described as a pathology in itself, since it is usually a consequence of other types of conditions. Currently, the physiopathological fundamentals that cause this symptom are not clearly known, but it is known that it is usually a response to some eye or neurological problems. In this sense, people who have clearer eyes have a greater predisposition to suffer photophobia.
What happens in the eye is that excess light quickly stimulates the pain receptors that are located in the trigeminal nerve. This nerve is one of the most sensitive throughout the body. Therefore, if an ocular inflammatory disease is present, photophobia may be present as a symptom. We could say that pathologies such as scleritis or uveitis are causing this condition so annoying for those who suffer it.
However, the neurological causes of this symptom may be associated with migraine or chronic headaches. The thalamus processes light in the brain, which can cause pain when photoreceptors are activated. However, patients affected by these pathologies may notice a symptom similar to photophobia but that has nothing to do with it. It is the flashes or eye flashes that originate for a while before the migraine headache begins. The reality is that this type of symptoms have nothing to do with the reception of light, but with vasodilation and vasoconstriction of the meninges in the optic nerve.
Which is the treatment?
The treatment that prevents or reduces photophobia involves treating the underlying pathology and originating it. As a general rule, the most important thing is to treat the root of the problem to avoid that the annoying symptoms persist over time. The ophthalmologist can place anesthetic drops in the eyes to be able to perform an optimal examination, since photophobia can be caused by several factors, including an ocular traumatism.
On the other hand, certain commonly used medications such as antihistamines, some antibiotics or contraceptives and even the use of drugs can cause photophobia, due to the pupil dilation that they cause. When the pupils are dilated, the retina receives an excess of light and could give rise to the symptoms we are talking about.
Patients suffering from photophobia are advised to use dark glasses with side protection so that the light does not have any corner to pass through. At home it is convenient not to put the lights too high and the most important thing is to visit the ophthalmologist so that he can treat the problem that causes this symptom and stop the recovery.