Other causes of light sensitivity

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Sometimes people can be sensitive to light even though they don’t have an eye condition and there can be other reasons why someone is light sensitive. 

  • Some medications can cause light sensitivity as a side effect, for example, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, antibiotics, acne medication and diuretic drugs used to treat high blood pressure.
  • People who suffer from migraine tend to be more sensitive to light, to a marked degree during a migraine headache, as well as to a lesser degree at other times. Sometimes, certain types of light or patterns can trigger migraine.
  • Other medical or health conditions can also make someone more sensitive to light. Examples can include blepharospasm, progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), fibromyalgia, or following a stroke or traumatic brain injury. The reasons why these conditions are associated with light sensitivity isn’t fully understood because the sensitivity to light seems to occur in the processing areas of the brain, not the eyes.


Light sensitivity without a cause

Some people have light sensitivity even though they don’t have an eye condition. Unfortunately, some people are sensitive to light without there being a physical cause and for some people this can cause a lot of difficulty. Typically, these people will have always been light sensitive which stays the same or only gradually increases as they get older.

It’s important to remember that there is a spectrum of light sensitivity. Some people are just more sensitive to light than others. People who have a lighter coloured iris may be more prone to being light sensitive than those with a darker iris. Some level of light sensitivity is normal for everyone especially in very bright sunny conditions.

If you start to experience light sensitivity, it’s important to have your eyes checked by an optometrist (also known as an optician) – they can examine the health of your eyes and check that there is no underlying eye condition which could be causing your light sensitivity. Our advice tips on coping with light sensitivity can help anyone experiencing light sensitivity, regardless of the cause.