Sun – when light only dazzles!

Doctor-Medic Liliana Banyai

Many people know it. It seems to be particularly noticeable in the summer: photosensitivity. As soon as you look into the sun or a harsh artificial light, your eyes water. Just about any light source seems to blind you! You can also be blinded by headlights while driving, for example. This may well become a bigger risk than you initially think.

Some people are even so influenced by light that their lifestyles can be severely limited by it. Possible causes include certain medical conditions, such as cataracts or other limitations. To understand this a little better, the following talks about possible causes of light sensitivity and what you can do about it in this case.

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Why can’t I go out without sunglasses??

Especially in summer, but also in winter, when the bright snow is blinding and the sun is shining, many people can no longer go out without sunglasses. This fact is one of the possible effects of light sensitivity. Other symptoms include burning or watery eyes, weak or severe headaches, etc. These symptoms can be long term or acute and intermittent.

Sensitivity to light: headache caused by bright light

Is my light sensitivity temporary?

Light sensitivity of the eyes is called photophobia or photosensitivity in technical language. When such a condition is present, those affected react extremely to bright light. It can cause burning or watery eyes, or nausea and headaches. By the way, it is relative whether the light comes from an artificial source or from the sun. You may wonder whether such sensitivity to light is temporary?

This question cannot be answered with certainty. One must first clarify the causes. If a serious disease is behind it, it can be that you still feel something of it despite medicamentous treatment or therapy your whole life long. However, this does not have to be the case, as it varies from person to person. If the reason for the light sensitivity of the eyes is only a trifle, this usually subsides again all by itself.

What is the cause of glare sensitivity?

The glare sensitivity, or light sensitivity can have many causes. First of all, however, it should be mentioned that there is not always an underlying disease. In some cases, however, diseases such as conjunctivitis or corneal inflammation, various vascular diseases or even certain forms of migraine can be the cause.

Surely you have heard of the term "cataract", but what exactly is it?? A human body can use certain senses only for a certain time in full strength. With time, however, various aging processes contribute to the fact that the perception becomes increasingly weaker. Cataract describes a clouding of the lens of the eye, which occurs around the age of 50. It may occur at the age of six. However, this varies from person to person. This clouding can lead to blurred vision and also to light sensitivity.

If your eyes have been lasered recently for various reasons, it is quite normal that you are more sensitive to light and have dry eyes. In this case you do not have to worry, because it usually disappears quickly.

What can I do about it?

Often it is not known what causes the photosensitivity and whether a serious disease or only a trifle is behind it. Therefore, it is advisable to go to the doctor if you notice that you are particularly sensitive to light. Above all, you should take it seriously if you experience pain when seeing or similar symptoms. It is not necessary to go to the doctor if the sensitive reaction occurs only for a short time and disappears after a short time.

Before going to the doctor, you can first take measures yourself to alleviate the discomfort somewhat. In most cases, a darkened room or sunglasses can help. However, if this becomes permanent you should see a doctor. Otherwise, polarizing or photochromic glasses, which automatically darken and block UV radiation, are also possible. If your sensitivity to light is due to dry eyes, they can be moistened by eye drops. In the technical language one speaks of the Sicca syndrome.

Sunglasses against light sensitivity of the eyes

What is the solution?

When you visit an ophthalmologist, he or she first clarifies the symptoms and possible causes with you and does tests to make a suitable diagnosis and plan therapy. What happens then?

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