The problem can be the result of a range of eye conditions.
- Lighter eye colour - Lighter-coloured eyes tend to be more sensitive to bright sunlight or strong artificial lighting, as they contain less pigment than darker eyes.
- Conjunctivitis (pink eye) - Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the thin, clear covering of the white of the eye, which is sometimes linked to allergies. Allergic conjunctivitis can cause light sensitivity.
- Corneal abrasion - Damage to the surface layer of the cornea can lead to photophobia. This can be the result of a minor injury, a problem with a contact lens, or the presence of dirt or grit in the eye.
- Detached retina - If the retina becomes detached from its support tissue, it can no longer function properly, so is unable to control the amount of light entering the eye.
Over-sensitivity to light can also be linked to an infection or inflammation of the eye, a virus or a headache or migraine. Treating the underlying problem will generally improve light sensitivity. Sufferers should also speak to your optometrist about anti-reflection, anti-UV lenses and polarized sunglasses. These help protect the eyes against sunlight and artificial indoor light.