Photophobia is eye discomfort in bright light.
Photophobia is common. For many people, the problem is not due to any disease. Severe photophobia may occur with eye problems. It can cause bad eye pain, even in low light.
Causes may include:
- Acute iritis or uveitis (inflammation inside the eye)
Uveitis is swelling and inflammation of the uvea. The uvea is the middle layer of the wall of the eye. The uvea supplies blood for the iris at the ...Read Article Now Book Mark Article
- Burns to the eye
- Corneal abrasion
- Corneal ulcer
- Drugs such as amphetamines, atropine, cocaine, cyclopentolate, idoxuridine, phenylephrine, scopolamine, trifluridine, tropicamide, and vidarabine
- Excessive wearing of contact lenses, or wearing poorly-fitting contact lenses
- Eye disease, injury, or infection (such as chalazion, episcleritis, glaucoma)
A chalazion is a small bump in the eyelid caused by a blockage of a tiny oil gland.Read Article Now Book Mark Article
Episcleritis is irritation and inflammation of the episclera, a thin layer of tissue covering the white part (sclera) of the eye. It is not an infec...Read Article Now Book Mark Article
- Eye testing when the eyes have been dilated
- Migraine headache
- Recovery from eye surgery
Things you can do to ease light sensitivity include:
- Avoid sunlight
- Close your eyes
- Wear dark glasses
- Darken the room
If eye pain is severe, see your health care provider about the cause of light sensitivity. Proper treatment may cure the problem. Get medical help right away if your pain is moderate to severe, even in low-light conditions.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your provider if:
- Light sensitivity is severe or painful. (For example, you need to wear sunglasses indoors.)
- Sensitivity occurs with headaches, red eye or blurred vision or does not go away in a day or two.
Eye redness is most often due to swollen or dilated blood vessels. This makes the surface of the eye look red or bloodshot.Read Article Now Book Mark Article
What to Expect at Your Office Visit
The provider will perform a physical exam, including an eye exam. You may be asked the following questions:
During a physical examination, a health care provider studies your body to determine if you do or do not have a physical problem. A physical examinat...Read Article Now Book Mark Article
- When did the light sensitivity begin?
- How bad is the pain? Does it hurt all the time or just sometimes?
- Do you need to wear dark glasses or stay in dark rooms?
- Did a doctor recently dilate your pupils?
- What medicines do you take? Have you used any eye drops?
- Do you use contact lenses?
- Have you used soaps, lotions, cosmetics, or other chemicals around your eyes?
- Does anything make the sensitivity better or worse?
- Have you been injured?
- What other symptoms do you have?
Tell your provider if you have any of these symptoms:
- Pain in the eye
- Nausea or dizziness
- Headache or neck stiffness
- Blurred vision
- Sore or wound in eye
- Redness, itching, or swelling
- Numbness or tingling elsewhere in the body
- Changes in hearing
The following tests may be done:
Franklin W. Lusby, MD, Ophthalmologist, Lusby Vision Institute, La Jolla, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
Ghanem RC, Ghanem MA, Azar DT. LASIK complications and their management. In: Azar DT, ed. Refractive Surgery. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 15.
Lee OL. Idiopathic and other anterior uveitis syndromes. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, eds. Ophthalmology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 7.20.
Olson J. Medical ophthalmology. In: Ralston SH, Penman ID, Strachan MWJ, Hobson RP, eds. Davidson's Principles and Practice of Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 27.