Photophobia is a fairly common symptom. For many people, photophobia is not due to any disease. Severe photophobia may occur with eye problems and can cause severe eye pain even in relatively low light.
You can reduce the discomfort of light sensitivity by:
Closing your eyes
Wearing dark glasses
Darkening the room
If eye pain is severe, see your health care provider to determine the cause of light sensitivity. Proper treatment may cure the problem. Seek urgent medical attention if your pain is moderate to severe, even in low-light conditions.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your doctor if light sensitivity is severe or painful -- for example, if you need to wear sunglasses indoors.
Also call if the sensitivity occurs with headaches, red eye or blurred vision or does not go away in a day or two.
What to Expect at Your Office Visit
The doctor will perform a physical examination, including an eye exam. You may be asked the following questions:
When did the light sensitivity begin?
Does it hurt all the time or just sometimes?
How bad is it?
Do you need to wear dark glasses or stay in dark rooms?
Did a doctor recently dilate your pupils?
Have you used any eye drops?
Do you use contact lenses?
Have you used soaps, lotions, cosmetics, or other chemicals around your eyes?
Have you been around dust, wind, sun, pollen, or chemicals?
Does anything make the sensitivity better or worse?
Have you been injured?
What medicines do you take?
What other symptoms do you have?
Tell your doctor if you have any of these symptoms:
Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine; and Franklin W. Lusby, MD, Ophthalmologist, Lusby Vision Institute, La Jolla, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.