Photosensitivity (photophobia)
Photosensitivity (photophobia)


Photosensitivity (photophobia)

Photosensitive people are sensitive to sunlight, streetlights and other artificial light sources, as well as reflective surfaces. There are many reasons for this: each eye is unique and reacts differently to light. Refined lenses protect the eyes from disturbing reflections. There are also lenses with special filters and integrated protection against harmful light. They can be adapted to the special needs of the spectacle wearer and are available as self-tinting versions or sunglasses. Consult your optician if you suffer from photosensitivity and its consequences.

What is photosensitivity? 

Light sensitivity, also called photophobia by professionals, can vary in severity. While some people find the very bright light of the sun unpleasant, for others it is rather the dim light of incandescent lamps, for example. Depending on the severity of the light sensitivity, the symptoms can be mild or severe and can lead to eye pain, for example. People with light-coloured eyes are more often affected by photophobia.

Signs and symptoms 

These symptoms indicate photosensitivity:

If these symptoms do not go away on their own after a short time, you should go to an ophthalmologist and have a possible photophobia checked out.

What causes photosensitivity? 

There are various sources of light that can cause disturbances in sensitive people. These include:

There are many reasons for this: photophobia can be caused by illnesses such as:

Some of these conditions are serious, so a doctor should always be consulted if photophobia occurs. An eye injury or contact lens irritation can also cause photosensitivity. Likewise, a general sensitivity or age can also be the cause for the development of photophobia. This makes it all the more important to have the trigger clarified by an ophthalmologist or optometrist.

How the eye works 

For us to see properly, four parts of the eye need to work well together:

If the individual components do not work together optimally, there can be problems with the quantity and quality of the incoming light.

How is photosensitivity determined? 

If you are photosensitive, you should see a doctor or optometrist. The doctor will ask questions about possible inheritance from parents, personal lifestyle, health, vision, medications and specific symptoms. This determines the type of examination, which includes a so-called ophthalmoscopy. Here, light is shone through the pupil into the inside of the eye. The examination also includes a visual acuity test with the well-known decreasing letters of the Snellen diagram.

Spectacle lenses for light sensitivity 

People who are sensitive to light can protect themselves against too much light with spectacle lenses. These include:

Ask your optician or ophthalmologist which lenses are best for you.