How many mornings have you walked from your bedroom to your bathroom after an especially spirited night of imbibing, bouncing into walls that you can never remember were there and wincing against the stray rays of sunlight that always seem to make their way past your wall of curtains? Too many to count probably, but don’t worry: no judgments here! It makes sense to you that your nights of too much fun may result in some unpleasant circumstances, but what about when this same unpleasant experience becomes the norm on any given day?
It wouldn’t be surprising if you aren’t even aware that your sensitivity to light is something to have a second, much less worrying, thought about. That searing pain in your left temple, and the weirdly annoying presence of light no matter where you turn while inside, can be enough to make you wish you lived in the furthest corner of a bat cave, where no tendrils of light could possibly reach you. While we’re pretty sure that you don’t really mean that, we think that it’s important that you understand just what you could be dealing with, the symptoms to look out for, and some pretty innovative solutions to the problem.
The Skinny On Photophobia
Photophobia is most often defined as an extremely high sensitivity to light. While it is not a disease on its own, it is often associated with a number of conditions such as encephalitis, meningitis, and dry eye syndrome. It is most notably associated with migraines, enough to be one of the key determinants for migraine diagnosis.
There is still opportunity for more research to dig deeper into photophobia, given that the first instance of definition only occurred as recently as the early 1930’s. Despite what we may still not know about photophobia, we can be sure in its connection to the cells within your eyes that detect light and the nerves from the eyes to your head.
Keeping An Eye On Photophobia
It can be frustrating to have a particularly-unpleasant medical condition, but have no idea where to start to get the help that you need. If you’re not sure what to keep a cautiously-narrowed eye out for when it comes to photophobia, here are some of the most common symptoms to look out for:
- Throbbing in the head
- Significant pain in the eye
- Blurred vision
- Neck stiffness
- Swelling inside eye
Of course, mild cases of photophobia will look like constantly squinting in a well-lit room at high noon, while more severe cases may be the experience of significant pain in one or both of the eyes at the exposure of any kind of light. In any case, it’s important that you take the necessary step to find migraine relief.
Why Sunglasses Indoors Is A Big No-No
As cool as it may feel to pop on your favorite oversized sunglasses to take care of the long-neglected dishes that are piling up in your kitchen, it may not be such a great idea to make this a habit, even if the sink is next to the biggest window in your house. While sunglasses have always been a lifesaver on long days lounging by the pool, or when tolerating any number of outdoorsy activities that your loved ones drag you to, they can be more harmful than beneficial for you when worn casually around the home.
Studies have shown that individuals who regularly wear sunglasses indoors are likely training their eyes to adapt to darkness. This would only then result in even greater sensitivity to very normal light conditions. This can quickly become a hindrance to how you navigate even the most mundane, yet necessary, tasks on a daily basis.
A Fact-Checked Solution That’s Worth A Try
According to a study by researchers at the University of Utah’s John A. Moran Eye Center, you can live a life that’s more than squinting against any presence of light and searing migraines. This study found that migraine sufferers, in particular, have sensitivities to certain light wavelengths and that lenses fitted with uber-special tints may be the answer to filtering out these offensive wavelengths.
Light-filtering lenses are one of the most innovative solutions for individuals who experience intensely high sensitivity to light. These lenses are called FL-41 and typically appear as trendy rose-tinted sunnies. FL-41 lenses have been shown to reduce overall light sensitivity, as well as both the frequency and severity of blepharospasm, a condition characterized by involuntarily blinking and spasms of the eyelids.
Glasses that are specially-designed with FL-41 lenses are specifically made to be worn indoors, without the stress of possibly dark-adapting your eyes which would lead to the worsening of your condition. They also work well with fighting against the effects of fluorescent lighting on your eyes, which is great for those of us who are subjected to work below these strangely-tinged bulbs for hours on end. Sadly, it can do nothing about what this kind of lighting does to the quality of your #selfies.
*AxionOptics wrote this post for me. And I have to say I love that company. I am wearing my Haven specs from them right now. I use them all the time. And I have seen an overall decrease in my photophobia which was severe from light avoidance.
This is me rocking my specs: