Tips for coping with light sensitivity

The most obvious way to cope with glare is to limit the amount of light entering your eye. There are a number of things you can try to do this.

Tips for coping with light sensitivity

Sunglasses

  • Tinted lenses in a pair of glasses (sunglasses) can help to reduce the amount of light entering your eyes and help with glare.
  • The lightness or darkness of the tint is largely a matter of personal choice as well as a balance between being dark enough to help with glare while still getting enough light to make the most of your vision. It is important if you have low vision, not to choose a tint that is too dark, as this might further reduce your level of sight.
  • Some people find light activated sunglasses, known as “photochromic” lenses, which get darker in brighter conditions outside, helpful; although this is a personal choice.
  • Polarised lenses can cut down on reflected glare from flat surfaces, for example light reflected off water or snow or off the bonnet of a car
  • It is important to protect your eyes from harmful UV light contained in sunlight. Sunglasses should have an UV filter. Make sure your sunglasses have a CE or British Standard (BS EN ISO 12312-1) mark to show that they offer proper UV protection.


Eyeshields

  • Eyeshields or wraparound shades are larger than normal sunglasses and they have built-in sides which stop the light entering from above and to the sides. They can also be worn over your normal spectacles. The fit of eyeshields is very important to stop light from coming in around the edge of the frame.
  • Eyeshields can also come in a variety of different coloured tints. There is no strong evidence to suggest that a particular shade of tint suits a specific eye condition; it’s generally a matter of personal choice. You might like to try out a range of different coloured tints to see if there’s one that works best for you. You might find that you prefer different tints in different situations, for example indoors and outdoors, or in summer and winter.


Moving around outside

  • Shading your eyes with your hand or wearing a baseball cap or hat with a wide brim can help cut down on glare.
  • Some eye conditions can make moving between areas with different lighting levels difficult; for example, when moving from sunlight into a dim room, or vice versa. It may be necessary to pause and put sunglasses on or take them off and give your eyes time to adjust.


Lighting

  • Many people with a sight problem find that using a task light for activities such as reading helpful. The best position for an adjustable lamp is below your eye level, between you and what you want to look at. Using an adjustable lamp in this way can reduce the amount of glare you experience when doing close work. We have a range of lighting solutions in our Online Shop.
  • Many people also find that making some adjustments to lighting in the home may help. Using shades, dimmer switches and blinds can help with glare and allow you to change the direction of light in a room.


Where can I get advice about tints or eyeshields?

  • You can speak to an optometrist or dispensing optician at your local opticians practice for more advice about different lens options for light sensitivity including tints and photochromic or polarised lenses.
  • If you have sight loss, a low vision specialist can give you advice on coping with glare. They can talk to you about the best way to use lighting to avoid glare. This is especially important since it can be difficult to balance the amount of light someone with a sight problem needs for tasks such as reading and the fact that they may have a problem with glare. The specialist can also explore different types of eyeshields to see which one may help with symptoms of glare. Your eye doctor (ophthalmologist), optometrist or GP can refer you to your local low vision clinic for a low vision assessment.
  • You can also try out a range of eyeshields as well as other equipment to help with daily living at your local sight loss society resource centre. You can search for your local sight loss society or low vision service via our Sightline Directory.
  • You can also look at the range of eyeshields we have on our Online Shop although it is usually best to try them out before you buy.

You can find more information on lighting and low vision assessments in our Making the Most of Your Sight leaflet.