Five steps to getting the right glasses for light sensitivity

12 May 2015

Sight loss because of an eye condition, like age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma or cataracts, can increase your sensitivity to light.

As anyone who’s experienced light sensitivity knows, it can cause a lot of discomfort and reduce your sight further. On some days you may find it hard to go out in daylight at all.

Luckily there are ways to help you cope, we explore the five steps to getting the right sunglasses to improve sensitivity to light .

1. Regular sunglasses won’t cut it

Managing the effects of bright light can be tricky as you have to find the balance between reducing sensitivity and getting enough light to make the most of your vision.

Regular sunglasses cut the amount of light entering the eye. But if you have low vision, they can also reduce your sight.

Have you tried coloured filters?

Coloured filters only reduce the light which is causing sensitivity, without affecting your vision. Although there are recommendations about which filters work best for particular eye conditions, finding what works for you can be quite individual. It’s always best to try a wide range to see what works for you.

2. Experiment with different light conditions

If you find sunny days most difficult, try glasses out on a bright day. If you have problems adapting to changes between lighting conditions, wear them outside and as well as indoors to see the difference.

You may even find that different filters work better for you in different situations.

3. Get fitted!

A well-fitting frame should sit close to your face comfortably. Eye protection designed for people with sight loss offers more coverage, with top panels and wider arms to block light entering the eye.

You can also get larger 'fit-over' frames, which can be worn over a pair of prescription spectacles

4. Check for UVA and UVB protection

Most tinted glasses now have an UV filter that will also protect your eyes from the harmful UV rays of the sun. The best lens will have protection against both UVA and UVB light.

Although UV filters don’t help with glare, it's important to protect your eyes from the sun as there is evidence that high exposure to UVA and UVB are risk factors for the development of cataracts and may increase your risk of developing AMD. Find out more about protecting your eyes from the sun on our page about protecting your eyes from the sun.

5. Seek advice if you’re unsure

You may be able to try out a range of tinted glasses as well as other equipment to help with daily living at your local blind society resource centre and staff may be able to give advice and make suggestions on what may be helpful.

Find one near you by searching on the RNIB Sightline directory. Your GP can also refer you to your local hospital low vision service for more help with choosing the right filters and frames for you and some opticians may also be able to make filter lenses up to your prescription.

Glasses for light sensitivity

Sunglasses and eyeshields

If you've got light sensitivity, you might need sunglasses or eyeshields to help cope with the glare and discomfort.  

Take a look at our eyeshield range in the RNIB shop