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Photophobia is a medical condition in which the eyes cannot tolerate light. In mild cases, entering a brightly-lit room or going outside can make you squint. In more severe cases, being sensitive to any form of light can make your eyes hurt. 

Today, we talk about everything you need to know about photophobia, including its causes, treatment and prevention.

Causes of Photophobia

Photophobia or light sensitivity is a common symptom associated with medical conditions that vary in severity and urgency. These include the following:

  • Migraine – This condition causes severe headaches that can be triggered by numerous factors, such as environmental changes and stress.

  • Conditions affecting the brain – A few serious brain-related conditions like encephalitis and meningitis have light sensitivity as a symptom.

  • Conditions affecting the eyes – Conjunctivitis or “pink eye”, corneal abrasion, scleritis and dry eye syndrome are eye-related conditions that can make your eyes hurt when exposed to light.

Seek immediate care as soon as possible, especially in cases considered as medical emergencies, such as meningitis and encephalitis. Turn to your eye doctor if your sensitivity to light also comes with blurry vision and the sensation that something is in your eye.

Treating Photophobia

Home care is required for mild cases. You may have to stay out of sunlight and keep your indoor lights dimmed to minimize discomfort. Covering your eyes with dark-tinted glasses may also help. For severe photophobia, your treatment will depend on the underlying cause. If you are diagnosed with mild dry eye syndrome, for instance, your doctor may prescribe artificial tears. Antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications help reduce photophobia in mild cases of encephalitis and bacterial meningitis.

For your eye care needs, turn to Advanced Eyecare Consultants. Give our trusted optometrist a call at 847-438-7700 (Lake Zurich) or 772-878-3437
(Libertyville). You may also fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment. We serve residents in Barrington, IL, and the surrounding communities.

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