Medical Q&As

Photophobia - light sensitivity?

I would like to ask you about light sensitivity. For the last 3 years or so I have noticed that the glare of daylight hurts my eyes causing me to squint. This seems to be associated with headaches around my sinus areas. Wearing sunglasses seems to ease the problem somewhat. Indoor lights, especially florescent lighting, hurts my eyes too. I use a computer in work and after using it each day my vision is blurred and I have extreme fatigue. I also suffer from occasional migraines. Suggestions? Advice?

Photophobia or light sensitivity can be triggered by sunlight, fluorescent light, the light from VDUs (visual display units) and in severe cases can be triggered by any light even if it is not particularly bright. The intolerance of light induces squinting as the sufferer attempts to reduce the amount of light getting into the eye. It is not uncommon for this squinting action to induce headache. Some migraine sufferers are also prone to being intolerant of bright light. Photophobia can be a symptom of an underlying eye problem such as conjunctivitis, uveitis, corneal abrasion, cataracts or even colour blindness. Certain medications can also contribute to the problem such as tetracycline and doxycycline, which are frequently prescribed antibiotics. I note your comments about working with computers, which leads me to suggest that you should attend an optician and have your sight tested. Working at a VDU for several hours a day could trigger symptoms such as you describe especially if your eyesight is deficient. Some people need to wear glasses while working in front of a VDU even though they might not otherwise experience visual deficiency while reading a newspaper or other printed material.