What is Photophobia?

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Photophobia is the scientific word for light sensitivity and comes from the words ‘photo,’ meaning light and ‘phobia,’ meaning fear of. It is not a disease or condition but rather a symptom associated with other disorders, including dry eye disease. Commonly, individuals who endure photophobia experience abnormal discomfort, watery eyes, and even headaches when exposed to direct sunlight, fluorescent light, and incandescent light sources, causing them to squint severely in bright environments. While photophobia is mostly felt in bright conditions, some individuals may experience discomfort with any level of light.


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of people suffer from dry eye symptoms at some point
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of dry eye cases are left untreated and can worsen with time
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of dry eye symptoms can be resolved with the right treatment

Photophobia and Dry Eyes

Associated Symptoms

Photophobia occurs when there is an error in the pathways through which our eyes sense and process light. In some cases, photophobia is the result of the inflammation of the trigeminal nerve near the cornea. While photophobia is not exclusive to dry eyes, studies indicate that most individuals with dry eye symptoms experience a degree of photophobia. Light sources that can trigger photophobia and other dry eye symptoms include fluorescent lighting, computer and device screens, TVs, bright sunlight, and flashing or flickering lights. If you have symptoms of light sensitivity and dry eyes, contact your eye care professional and ask about CSI Dry Eye Software — the software helps to determine the underlying cause of symptoms and suggests possible approaches to treatment.

What is the treatment
for dry eyes?

When dry eye disease leads to symptoms such as photophobia, finding the right treatment is essential. CSI Dry Eye Software includes a database of possible OTC eye drops and treatment plan options.

Understanding and overcoming photophobia

Treating photophobia comes down to understanding the root cause behind it. CSI Dry Eye Software is the only dry eye software that aims to develop an evidence-based approach to diagnosing and managing dry eye disease. If photophobia is a symptom of your dry eyes, CSI Dry Eye Software can identify the best treatment option for you, whether prescription medication or a procedure on the eye. In the meantime, you can manage your symptoms by wearing tinted glasses outdoors to protect from the sun. It is not advisable that individuals who experience photophobia wear sunglasses indoors. Please seek the help of an eye doctor to diagnose and treat the causes of photophobia.

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How Do I Know If I Have Photophobia?

Photophobia is sensitivity to light and may be a symptom of dry eyes. If you have photophobia, you may experience eye pain or headaches when exposed to bright lights and/or find yourself blinking and tearing up.
Everything You Need to Know About Dry Eye Disease
Dry eye disease is characterized by having chronic dry eyes, which could be the result of any number of issues. Dry eye disease is underdiagnosed and undertreated, often because each patient’s scenario is so unique.

What are the Causes of Red Eye?

Red-eye is a common symptom of dry eyes, but can also be caused by allergies, eye fatigue, contacts, or even an infection. In some cases, red eyes can indicate a more serious condition or disease.