Photophobia: What is it & What are the best glasses for light sensitivity?

12th May 2017

For some individuals, the presence of bright light and the discomfort it causes can feel intolerable. Light sensitivity, also known as photophobia, can be very problematic for these people, particularly where powerful lamps and bright sunshine are present. This can be a symptom of an underlying problem.

Our eyes are a sensitive organ and the sense of being exposed to brightness for some can trigger headaches and the feeling of nausea as well as the usual reaction of squinting and the need to shield the eyes.

Individuals who have darker-coloured eyes are less susceptible to the condition because darker irises contain larger levels of melanin which is part of nature's natural protection against harsher light conditions.

What is photophobia & what causes it?

Photophobia is a medical condition in which a person experiences an abnormal sensitivity to light. It can cause discomfort or pain in the eyes when exposed to light, even at low levels. This can lead to a range of symptoms, including headaches, eye strain, and even nausea or vomiting.

There are several causes of photophobia. One of the most common causes is a migraine headache. People who suffer from migraines often experience sensitivity to light during an attack. Other common causes of photophobia include eye infections, such as conjunctivitis, corneal abrasions or ulcers, dry eyes, and certain medications such as antibiotics, antihistamines, or chemotherapy drugs.

In some cases, the cause of photophobia may be idiopathic, meaning it is unknown or cannot be identified. If you are experiencing photophobia, it is important to see a doctor to determine the underlying cause and receive appropriate treatment.

Can photophobia be treated?

Yes, photophobia can be treated, but the treatment depends on the underlying cause. In some cases, symptoms can be helped by wearing peaked hats or caps or by wearing wraparound sunglasses with UV protection.

Polarised lenses can be especially effective as they are excellent at blocking glare from watery surfaces, bright lights and any other type of reflective surfaces. Photochromic lenses (lenses that react to light and go dark or light depending on how bright it is) are also great additions for sufferers.

However, if photophobia is caused by an underlying condition, treating that condition may be necessary to alleviate the symptoms. For example, if the cause of photophobia is an eye infection, antibiotics or antiviral medication may be prescribed. If it is caused by a migraine headache, a combination of lifestyle changes, such as avoiding triggers, and medication may be recommended. If it is due to dry eyes, lubricating eye drops or ointments may be used.

What are the best glasses for light sensitivity?

There are several types of glasses that can be helpful for people who experience light sensitivity or photophobia. The best type of glasses for light sensitivity will depend on the underlying cause and the specific needs of the individual. Here are some examples:

  1. Tinted glasses: Tinted glasses can be helpful for reducing the amount of light that reaches the eyes. Yellow or brown tinted lenses can be particularly effective for reducing glare and improving contrast. Some people find relief with rose or purple tints, while others prefer gray or green.
  2. Photochromic glasses: Photochromic glasses are designed to darken automatically in response to bright sunlight or UV light. They can be helpful for people who experience light sensitivity due to changes in lighting conditions.
  3. Blue light blocking glasses: Blue light blocking glasses can help reduce exposure to the high-energy blue light that is emitted by digital screens, which can be particularly bothersome to some people with light sensitivity.

What are the best sunglasses for photophobia?

The best sunglasses for photophobia will depend on the underlying cause and the specific needs of the individual. However, there are several features to look for when selecting sunglasses for photophobia:

  1. Polarised lenses: Polarized lenses can help improve visual clarity and reduce glare, which can be particularly helpful for people with photophobia.
  2. 100% UV protection: It is important to select sunglasses that offer 100% protection against UVA and UVB rays. Exposure to UV radiation can exacerbate photophobia and increase the risk of eye damage.
  3. Wraparound style: Sunglasses that wrap around the sides of the face can help reduce the amount of light that reaches the eyes from the sides.
  4. Large frames: Sunglasses with large frames can help block more light from reaching the eyes and provide additional coverage.

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