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Light Sensitivity? The Reasons for Photophobia May Surprise You

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To some degree, everyone is sensitive to bright lights. But when light sensitivity disturbs your daily life, it’s a sign of a more severe problem, and you need to find the cause.

While many people think of photophobia, the official term for light sensitivity, as a condition caused by brain injuries or pathologies, functional vision problems can also be to blame. An eye exam at our eye care centres in North Edmonton, Downtown Edmonton and Sherwood Park can detect or rule out the presence of a vision disorder.

How do you know if you have photophobia?

Photophobia is an intolerance of light. If you have light sensitivity, you may experience the following:

  • Sunlight sensitivity that leads to an avoidance of going outdoors on sunny days.
  • Fluorescent sensitivity that makes it difficult and uncomfortable to work in a room lit by fluorescent lighting.
  • Sensitivity to car headlights prevents you from driving at night.
  • Computer vision syndrome as a result of the glare from a computer screen. Reading from your computer screen is harder than reading a printed page.

What are possible causes of photophobia?

Light sensitivity is rooted in two primary problems:

Non-functional vision problems

The list of reasons why a person may suffer from photophobia is vast. A few possibilities include brain injuries, pathologies, migraine headaches, corneal issues, computer vision syndrome, refractive conditions and side effects from medication.

By and large, these types of problems are associated with injury, inflammation and infection. Light sensitivity typically appears suddenly, with no prior experiences with photophobia.

Functional vision problems

Let’s start by defining functional vision; it is the ability to interact with your environment, using eye teaming, eye focusing and eye movements – all visual skills. A problem with functional vision occurs when one or more of these visual skills are not working optimally.

For example, exotropia is a problem that commonly leads to photophobia. This disorder is a form of strabismus, in which one or both eyes turn outwards. When someone has exotropia or any other functional vision disorder, it’s typical to have suffered from light sensitivity for a long while.

How can you identify the reason for your photophobia?

You need a functional vision eye exam by a qualified eye doctor, such as an eye care specialist in North Edmonton, Downtown Edmonton and Sherwood Park.

If your eye exam indicates a functional vision problem, it means it’s hard for your brain to organise light properly. Often, eye teaming is the visual skill that must be strengthened. Treatment may consist of vision therapy or customised glasses that help the visual system organise light.

If your light sensitivity isn’t linked to a functional vision disorder but to computer vision syndrome instead, our eye doctors can provide tips and treatments, such as computer glasses and anti-glare filters, to help alleviate the symptoms of digital eye strain.

At Village Eye Centre, we put your family's needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 587-410-5920 or book an appointment online to see one of our North Edmonton eye doctors.

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