My Eyes! My Eyes!

It’s another beautiful sunny day here in the Vancouver area. I love this weather and we’ve been blessed with this sunshine for at least a couple of weeks solid so far. As much as I love this sun it does have an affect on my eyes. I mentioned it briefly in my last blog here>

Now I’d like to share more of the story. I began to notice an increased sensitivity to sunlight (and other bright light) probably about 5-6 years ago. The biggest sign was that even when wearing sunglasses I would sometimes get burning, tearing and pain in my eyes and then wouldn’t be able to open my eyes until it ran it’s course. That usually only took a few mins, or less, but it got much worse when my daughter and I went to the Dominican Republic for a vacation. I had polarized sunglasses that covered my eyes well, and spent most of my time in the shade as I also burn easily; but even with all of that our second day at the resort my eyes began to burn and tear and even swell so much that I could not open them and I actually went to the resort Doctor. He was so concerned he sent me to the local hospital. There they gave me an antihistamine injection and eye drops and pills to take for the rest of my vacation. I was ok for the rest of the vacation with those to take, and that story is a good reminder to make sure you have out-of-country health insurance. I didn’t have to pay a dime.

Since that vacation my eyes have continued to get more sensitive and I wear my sunglasses even on grey days. About the only time I don’t is if it is actually raining. I have also noticed that even with protection my eyes are tired, almost a sore tiredness after I’ve been out in the sun for a few hours or more. Recently I’ve been doing more walking and hiking with friends and I’ve felt like my eyes are more sensitive, so I decided to start wearing a hat when I’m out walking even though hats make my head itchy. What I have found so far is that the hat doesn’t actually make any difference and I think that may be because it doesn’t prevent the reflection of the sun off of objects like the water, or cars, etc. from hitting my eyes underneath the brim of the hat. The hat only blocks the sun overhead and even then only if I keep my head tilted slightly downward. So more experimentation is needed around the hat idea.

Being the researcher I am, I’ve done some searching around this light sensitivity issue and want to share that information with you, my followers. This intolerance or sensitivity to light is known as photophobia. Some only feel discomfort from bright lights, while others cannot stand any type of light, whether it is sunlight, fluorescent light, incandescent light, or candle flames. I am more sensitive than I used to be to indoor lighting too. If I look back at when I began noticing the sensitivity I believe it actually began with indoor lighting. Some light-sensitive people tend to squint or close their eyes when exposed to light. Photophobia happens to people of all ages and both sexes. It can be temporary or constant. Constant photophobia is usually an indicator of another problem, for which medical attention should be sought.

There are many reasons why someone might suffer from sensitivity to light. Photophobia is not a disease or disorder per se; rather, it is a symptom of many different diseases, disorders, and conditions. For example, an infection or inflammation that irritates the eyes can cause photophobia. It can be a symptom of an underlying disease such as a viral illness, or it can be caused by a severe headache or migraine. I’m not going to go into detail about the many reasons/causes of photophobia here, you can find out more through my link to the source of my info at the bottom of this blog.

If you feel you are experiencing photophobia more often than you should be, you should seek medical attention from an eye care specialist. I’m going to be checking with my ND and my Ophthalmologist, as I do feel I’m more sensitive.

Here are some prevention tips for photophobia:

Wear sunglasses with polarized lenses when outdoors, even in the shade.
Take vitamins and eat foods that contain antioxidants; for example, light sensitivity is sometimes a sign of a vitamin A deficiency
Dim or turn off indoor lights; close curtains in windows if too much light enters.
Get treatment for any underlying condition you may have, such as dry eyes or conjunctivitis.
Wear wide-brimmed hats when outdoors.
Close your eyes for a while.

Ok that last one sounds a little silly and like it should be common sense, but it’s surprising how many people don’t think of just closing their eyes for a bit.

I’ve given you only the basics about light sensitivity aka photophobia, so please talk to your doctor or optometrist or ophthalmologist if you’re feeling that you’re becoming more sensitive or are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned in the original article here>

Take care of you and make sure you’re looking all cool and Hollywood in your sunglasses! *tips my sunhat* 🙂


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