Fear Of Light (Photophobia): Definition, Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

The fear of light, also known as photophobia, is defined by experts as the sensitivity is exacerbated by sunlight. It can be the manifestation of benign or more severe disease, migraine, or meningitis in some cases. Although the first manifestations by people can be taken as a game, you must pay attention to your fear of light and treat it with a specialist doctor to determine the causes and possible treatments.

People who suffer from some sensitivity to light, especially in the eyes, should have a medical check-up and not wait a very long time to be treated, which in most cases is combined with reasonable assistance from a therapist.


Photophobia is a specific or chronic visual disorder characterized by abnormal eye sensitivity to light. Depending on the intensity of the photophobia, the subject feels a simple discomfort or a more or less intense pain, forcing him to seek the dark to calm himself.

An additional fact that we can tell you is that this intolerance to light can occur regardless of the nature of the light source (sunlight, car lights, candle flame, electric lamp, computer screen).

It usually starts to rain if you force yourself to keep your eyes open despite the pain. Other symptoms can also accompany photophobia depending on its intensity and cause (headache, nausea, red eyes).

Read about: fear of the dark.

The causes of the disease

In many cases, photophobia is not related to a disease. It preferentially affects people with light eyes (blue or green eyes): their irises contain few pigments, which explains why their eyes have a more challenging time protecting themselves from light.

  • However, it is recommended to consult your doctor or an ophthalmologist when photophobia appears, as it can sometimes be a symptom of a disease.
  • Possible pathologies include eye diseases such as conjunctivitis (inflammation of the conjunctiva), keratitis (inflammation of the cornea), glaucoma (excessive eye strain), or retinal detachment.
  • Migraine and meningitis (inflammation of the meninges whose main symptoms are photophobia, stiff neck, severe headache, fever, vomiting, and skin rash) are other possible causes of photophobia.
  • A deficiency of vitamin B2 or the consumption of certain substances (drugs, medications) can also cause intolerance to light.

Symptoms of photophobia

  • If photophobia is present, exposure to a light source can cause discomfort or burning in the eyes.
  • The subject may need to wrinkle or close the eyes for relief.
  • They may also experience eye strain, blurred vision, and dry eyes.


  • When photophobia is related to eye pigmentation, it can be combated by wearing tinted glasses and reducing screen glare.
  • In other cases, its treatment goes through that of its cause.
  • It can be based, in particular, on supplementation with vitamin B2 and adaptation of the diet or based on the use of various drugs depending on the underlying pathology.


  • If you are sensitive to light, cover up and wear dark glasses.
  • Determine which is the most harmful light for you, and avoid going out at those times.
  • Visit the specialist, and follow his instructions to the letter. If you do not feel improvement, make it known to your family.
  • Home treatments may be another option, but you should do it with caution and not overdo it to avoid reactions that compromise your recovery.

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Hello, how are you? My name is Georgia Tarrant, and I am a clinical psychologist. In everyday life, professional obligations seem to predominate over our personal life. It's as if work takes up more and more of the time we'd love to devote to our love life, our family, or even a moment of leisure.