Photophobia means excessive sensitivity to light or light intolerance.
Some feel only discomfort in case of bright lights, while in case of severe photophobia the person does not support any type of light.
The sources can be:
- Fluorescent light,
- Incandescent light,
- Flame of candles,
Sensitivity to light generally affects people with light eyes because they have less pigmentation in the various layers of the eye than those with dark eyes.
For this reason, they are not able to block the effects of strong light like sunlight and fluorescent.
Causes of photophobia
The two most common causes of photophobia are migraine and blepharospasm (a movement disorder that causes frequent flashes of light).
Also the dry eye can cause photophobia in some individuals, for example, in patients suffering from:
1. dry eye syndrome,
2. Sjogren’s syndrome .
A very common cause of photophobia is inflammation of the anterior region of the eye covering the iris.
The iris controls the size of the pupil and regulates the amount of light entering the eye.
In the case of inflammation of the iris (iritis), the iris painfully reduces each time the light strikes the eye.
People with light eyes have more sensitivity to light and brightness, for example: individuals with albinism who have a total lack of pigmentation .
The corneal abrasions can lead to persistent intolerance to light, such as uveitiswhich is inflammation of the uvea (formed by the iris, ciliary body and choroid).
Nervous System Diseases
Among the causes of photophobia, there are some neurological diseases such as:
- Retinal detachment – causes the appearance of flashes or shadows in the visual field, is usually unilateral (affects one eye).
- Optic neuritis is inflammation of the optic nerve, which is usually caused by multiple sclerosis or vascular disorders.
Light intolerance also occurs on the days following a surgery such as PRK and LASIK that are done with a laser in the eye to correct refractive errors ( myopia , astigmatism , etc.). It is a temporary disorder that usually passes in a few days.
Certain medications and drugs can cause photophobia, causing pupil dilation for an extended period of time, for example, cocaine and amphetamines.
Among the medicines that can cause photophobia are:
- Some antibiotics , such as tetracycline and doxycycline,
- Atropine for dilation of the pupil,
- Suspension of benzodiazepines, in this case, photophobia is a symptom of withdrawal.
Other causes of photophobia
- Allergic , viral and bacterial conjunctivitis ;
- Burns in the eye;
- Herpes zoster ophthalmic;
- Corneal ulcer;
- A vitamin B2 deficiency or riboflavin causes photophobia and pupil dilation.
- Excessive wear of contact lenses, or use of unsuitable contact lenses;
- Eye disease , injury or infection (such as tendon, keratoconus , episcleritis and glaucoma );
- Botulism ;
- Ophthalmic examination with dilated pupil;
Researchers at universities and medical centers are working to better understand photophobia, since it is sometimes considered more as a psychological than a physical disorder .
Some doctors insist that it is a neurological problem and not psychological , so it must be treated differently.
It has been observed, however, that people with photophobia are more prone to:
- Depression ,
- Anxiety and panic attacks . Generally, panic attacks occur during the day in the summer and spring when there is more light,
- Bipolar disorder .
Causes of photophobia and headache
Migraine – a disease characterized by:
The patient suffering from migraine closes in a dark room, in silence.
Typically, the source is power; eliminating all foods that can cause symptoms (cheese and dairy, meat, chocolate, gluten-free cereals , etc.), the patient feels better.
Among other diseases of the nerves are:
- The ‘s neuralgia , trigeminal nerve causes photophobia, nerve fibers of the trigeminal nerve run of the cornea, the iris ( the colored part of the eye) , and also the back of the eye.
- Other diseases that cause neurological symptoms may be tumors of the pituitary gland or meningitis ( inflammation of the outer membrane of the brain).
Meningitis, a serious infection accompanied by fever , sore throat , headache , dizziness , vomiting , etc .;
- Sinusitis .
Symptoms of photophobia
There are some obvious symptoms to recognize increased sensitivity to light, for example:
1. Discomfort when there is too much light, or when you spend a lot of time on the computer;
2. Feel the need to close your eyes;
3. Need to tighten the eyes;
4. Burning in the eyes ;
5. Excessive tearing;
7. Pain in the eyes;
8. Red eyes;
9. Blurry view.
The intensity of the disease varies between people and also according to the season.
Obviously, the problem is less evident in the winter months.
Treatment for photophobia
At the outset, the most important step the ophthalmologist must do is diagnose and treat associated illnesses and explain to the patient some things that can be done, such as not wearing sunglasses indoors.
People who wear sunglasses can actually adapt to the dark environment and increase photosensitivity.
Pink Glasses FL-41
Preliminary research from the University of Utah shows that specially colored lenses can help some people with photophobia. Many patients prefer the FL-41 color in sunglasses instead of yellow or green.
The FL-41 shade is a pink filter that has proved to be useful in patients with migraine and blocks blue-green wavelengths.
In a survey of patients with blepharospasm with no other requirements using:
- Sunglasses FL-41 for two weeks,
- Then use normal sunglasses for two weeks.
Patients completed questionnaires at the end of each period.
The conclusion is that patients with blepharospasm preferred to wear lenses with the FL-41 shade compared to conventional glasses.
In a new study, the researchers used electromyography to measure the frequency of eye blinking, duration, and amplitude in patients with blepharospasm.
The test was done while the patients read for five minutes in each situation with:
- Normal glasses,
- Glasses with a slight gray shade,
- Glasses with tonality FL-41.
The results show objective evidence that FL-41 reduces blepharospasm.
The FL-41 lenses:
- They are not invasive,
- They have no side effects,
- They are not expensive.
Make sure the glasses block blue and green.
The FL-41 lenses are available in optics shop, but some lenses called FL-41 are not really that way.
You need to know if the ophthalmologist knows the lenses and if they are really FL-41.
A spectral analysis of the lenses can be done to make sure they are blocking the light correctly.
Natural Remedies for Photophobia
The doctor usually recommends riboflavin B2 about 100 mg and other B-complex vitamins.
Take 4 days a week for a few months.
Some foods that have a high concentration of zeaxanthin are useful in case of photophobia, such as:
Another is the recommended substance carotene of carrots and vitamin .
Anyone who works on the computer can temporarily work around the problem using a darker background with less contrast.
Diet and diet for photophobia
According to natural medicine , a healthy lifestyle and an adequate diet can:
1. Reduce irritation and inflammation of the eye,
2. Treat the disease that causes photophobia.
For vegan people , hygienists recommend a diet based on:
- Raw food, especially fruits and vegetables.
- Fruits, nuts and seeds
- Vegetables, preferably fresh.
According to the hygienists we should avoid:
- All animal protein foods (meat, fish, dairy products and eggs),
- Cooked foods, especially at elevated temperatures (including crackers, biscuits and bread baked at very high temperatures),
- Processed and processed foods.
You can cure diseases like photophobia also with the blood type diet that allowed the symptoms to disappear in many people.
According to this type of diet, proteins are the most important part of the diet, in particular:
- Meat (but avoid cold cuts (salamis) and pork),
- Fish (especially blue),
- Pseudocereals such as quinoa and amaranth.
The foods to avoid are always :
1. Dairy products,
2. Cereals with gluten ,
3. Chewing gums,
4. Fried or smoked foods.
Depending on the type of blood, there are some foods that can aggravate the disease , for example:
- People in group O may have symptoms after eating fruits, lentils, etc.
- Individuals in group A have trouble digesting red meat.
- A person in group B may feel bad about tomatoes, sunflower oil, peanuts, etc.
- Individuals in AB group should not eat white beans, pumpkin seeds, red pepper, oranges, etc.