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An excessive sensitivity to light in the eyes is also called photophobia. Although the word suggests otherwise, the name “phobia” does not describe a morbid fear of light. Photophobia is experiencing discomfort or pain in the eyes from exposure to light. Photophobia can develop very gradually. Where in one summer sunglasses could cope with the extreme light sensitivity well, in the next summer it can be experienced as problematic. Photophobia is usually caused by cataracts. Also with keratoconus, the light no longer focuses well on the yellow spot (the fovea), but the light spreads over the entire retina. This light puts a veil over what we actually want to see. This veil of light is also known as scattered light. It reduces the contrast causing the image to fade. Stray light causes halos and starbursts at night and can dazzle during the day.
Symptoms of photophobia
Those who have photophobia can already feel eye pain with small amounts of light and want to avert their eyes. An environment with artificial light can therefore be experienced as very uncomfortable. Light sources that can cause photophobia include:
- Light clouds (a so-called sharp sky)
- Reflections on a white or reflective surface
- A window with insufficient sun protection
- Flames of candles, headlights of oncoming traffic
- A screen
Everyone suffers from ‘looking into the light’ to a greater or lesser extent. Looking in bright light is never pleasant, but people with photophobia sometimes suffer up to 10 times as much from light. stray light nuisance can cause headaches, watery eyes, visual and functional limitations, fatigue and concentration problems.
To reduce photophobia you can of course wear dark sunglasses. Other ways to alleviate photophobia include using colored contact lenses.
In 2022, research will be conducted at the Keratoconus Center in the Netherlands into the effect of stray light nuisance by improving contact lens correction. Do you experience problems with stray light or do you recognize the above complaints, make an appointment without obligation for an examination.
Go to Keratoconus Center Netherlands
Do you like to err on the side of caution? Please contact the Keratoconus Center in the Netherlands. There you can find more information about keratoconus, which can include photophobia. Keratoconus lenses, contrast-enhancing scleral lenses, soft keratoconus contact lenses with Conepower technology or night glasses may reduce or solve your problems with light.