Photophobia is an aversion to or avoidance of light. People with photophobia are highly sensitive to light. Some people only experience discomfort in bright lights; however, in severe cases, the individual cannot stand any form of light at all. The causes of photophobia may include corneal abrasion, excessive wearing of contact lenses, or wearing badly fitted contact lenses, meningitis, migraine headaches, and drugs such as amphetamines, atropine, and cocaine. Additionally, an infection or an inflammation that irritates the eye can be the cause of photophobia as well. Burning, excessive need to close eyes or squint, and excessive tearing are among the symptoms of photophobia. In addition, a person’s eye color may contribute to symptoms of photophobia as well as it affects one’s sensitivity to light. People who have light colored eyes experience different levels of light sensitivity versus people with darker colored eyes. Research has pointed out that this happens because of a lack of pigment in light colored eyes. People with dark colored eyes have more pigment, which protects them from harsh lights, including bright sunlight. The treatment of photophobia actually depends on the underlying cause of it. If it is due to a medication, then seeing a doctor and changing the medication may lessen the discomfort caused by bright light. In addition, avoiding sunlight, wearing dark glasses if the person is naturally sensitive to light, and darkening the room may significantly reduce the discomfort caused by photophobia.
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