Photophobia, or photophobia - a deviation characterized by the occurrence of severe discomfort in the eyes caused by artificial lighting of the room. At the same time, in the dark or twilight, the visual organs feel and function quite normally.
Photosensitivity (another name for photophobia) is manifested by rather acute symptoms. It causes a feeling of severe pain and pain in the eyes, although such signs may also indicate the development of various ophthalmologic pathologies, diseases of the nervous system, or diseases accompanied by pronounced intoxication of the body.
Depending on the causes of the anomaly, the method of its treatment is also selected.
The main causes of photophobia
The most common causes that can cause photophobia in adults are:
- Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the eye conjunctiva, accompanied by pain and pain in the eyes, redness of the eye proteins, sometimes - the formation of pus (with the bacterial nature of the disease);
- Iritis is an inflammation of the iris of the optic organ;
- Keratitis - inflammation of the cornea;
- Mechanical damage to the cornea;
- The formation of ulcers or swelling in the eye area;
- Albinism - a disease in which light rays penetrate not only through the pupils, but also through the bleached iris;
- Frequent prolonged migraines;
- Long stay in the sun;
- Eye irritation caused by violation of the rules of stay in the solarium;
- Congenital photophobia, accompanied by partial or complete absence of the pigment substance melanin;
- Drug treatment of various diseases;
- Daily long stay at the computer;
- Exposure of the eyes to prolonged exposure to bright light;
- Acute glaucoma attack;
- Corneal erosion caused by the ingress of a foreign object on the eye cornea;
- The study of the fundus with the subsequent artificial expansion of the pupil;
- Viral and infectious diseases like measles, rabies, botulism;
- Photophobia can also be a side effect of taking furosemide, quinine, doxycycline, belladonna, tetracycline, etc .;
- Retinal detachment;
- Thermal or sunburn of the eyes;
- Surgical intervention in the area of the visual organs (one or both);
- Prolonged exposure to a dark room, after which a bright light suddenly appears (such changes result in the pupil simply not having time to adapt to new conditions; this is quite normal and therefore should not be taken as a deviation).
Photosensitivity is a fairly common anomaly in people wearing contact lenses. But such a deviation does not always occur, but only if they were chosen incorrectly. In such a situation, corneal irritation occurs, which can also cause tearing and eye pain.
You should not worry if photophobia arose against the background of a long stay in a semi-lit room. After the sudden appearance of bright light, the eye does not have time to adapt to new conditions, which can cause sting, pain and black spots (or dots). A similar deviation is observed in people who are used to reading or working at a computer for a long time, as well as after waking up. But if photophobia is a constant symptom that does not disappear over a long period of time, this should seriously alert the person and force him to consult an ophthalmologist.
What are the symptoms?
Photophobia is called intolerance to a bright light of artificial or natural origin, which occurs in one or both in both organs of vision.
Getting into the conditions of bright lighting, people suffering from photophobia, begin to squint reflexively and cover their eyes with their hands, or completely close their eyes. This is due to the patient's instinctive desire to protect the visual organ from further irritation. If a person wears sunglasses, then symptoms of photophobia appear less acute.
When the eye is sensitive to light, the following symptoms may occur:
- blurring the contours of objects;
- blurred vision;
- pain and feeling of sand in the eyes;
- hyperemia of the mucous membranes of the eyeballs;
- dilated eye pupils;
- increased tearing;
- headache attacks.
Despite the above symptoms, photophobia in most cases is not an independent disease, but a sign of various ophthalmic pathologies. Especially if the patient also has:
- eyelid edema;
- redness of the eye proteins, which does not pass over a long period of time;
- presence of pus in the eyes.
In the absence of such symptoms, one can speak of the neurological origin of the pathology. However, in order to at least approximately understand what disease takes place, it is necessary to clearly define the signs associated with photosensitivity.
One of the most likely complications of photophobia is aggravation or chronicity of the disease that caused its occurrence. In severe cases, ignoring photosensitivity can even lead to complete loss of vision.
In addition to a significant reduction in the patient's quality of life, photophobia can cause the development of such a serious psychological state as heliophobia. Pathology is accompanied by a strong, often - panic fear of the sun's rays. People with heliophobia (and even those patients who have already got rid of photosensitivity) experience a strong emotional shock before going out into the sunlight, fearing that it will again cause them pain, pain and discomfort in their eyes.
Fear of sunlight is accompanied by:
- increased pulse and breathing;
- trembling in limbs;
- bouts of arrhythmia;
- nausea, sometimes with vomiting;
- dizziness with the possibility of short-term loss of consciousness (syncope);
- panic attacks;
If you are hypersensitive to light, do not neglect the alarming symptoms. In order to avoid dangerous consequences, it is necessary to consult an ophthalmologist as soon as possible, since in some cases photophobia may be one of the signs of the presence of a brain tumor.
How to treat photophobia?
Since photophobia is only a symptom of a certain pathology, first you need to find out the reason for its occurrence. Eliminating the underlying disease, the patient can get rid of the manifestations of photophobia. It should be remembered that it is unlikely that the existing problem can be eradicated independently, since most eye pathologies are similar to each other in terms of the clinical picture.
For this reason, it is necessary to consult an oculist and undergo a range of diagnostic studies. In particular:
- Ophthalmoscopy, during which the doctor examines the fundus of the eye with the use of a special technique for the artificial expansion of the pupil;
- Biomicroscopy carried out using a slit lamp, with which the eye is examined for changes in the fundus and in the vitreous body;
- Perimetry with which the doctor checks the visual field of the patient;
- Tonometry - a procedure during which the intraocular pressure is measured by an ophthalmologist;
- Gonioscopy - a study in which the iris borders on its cornea;
- Pachymetry, which involves measuring the thickness of the cornea;
- Ultrasound examination, which is carried out when it is impossible to perform an ophthalmoscopy, and contributes to a thorough study of the transparent medium of the visual organ;
- Fluorescein angiography when the ocular blood vessels are examined;
- Optical coherent tomography, with which you can detect changes in the tissues of the eye retina;
- Electroretinography - a procedure that contributes to a complete assessment of the functioning of the retina
- Bacteriological examination of secretions from the conjunctival sacs of the eye, to detect viruses (by PCR), pathogens or fungi.
If the above procedures have shown that the patient has no problems with the health of the visual organs, he will be advised by a neurologist. They may be assigned the following diagnostic procedures:
- MRI of the brain;
- Doppler of cervical blood vessels heading into the cranial cavity.
If necessary, an ultrasound of the thyroid gland and biochemical blood tests for TSH are performed, and T4 and T3 are hormones produced by this gland. If hyperthyroidism or diabetic retinopathy is detected, the treatment will be carried out by an endocrinologist. If there are signs of a tuberculous process in the ocular conjunctiva or cornea, the patient is referred to a phthisiologist.
To prevent photosensitivity, it is first necessary to protect the eyes from bright light. To do this, you need to purchase polarizing sunglasses, which will filter ultraviolet radiation, preventing large amounts of it from entering the organs of vision.
In addition, it is necessary:
- rub eyes as little as possible, especially on the street, in hospital and other public places;
- more often rest your eyes while working at the computer;
- use drugs artificial tears (Vidisik);
- if purulent inflammation occurs, use antiseptic or antibacterial drops (Okomistin, Levomycetin, Sulfacil, etc.).
If photophobia is the result of mechanical damage to the eye (injury, burn, blow, etc.), the patient is obliged to immediately contact an ophthalmologist. To do this, call an ambulance, then treat the eyes with an antiseptic, and put a sterile dressing on top of the visual organ. Do not delay with a visit to the doctor, because the ordinary and, at first glance, innocuous photophobia can hide diseases that can pose a mortal danger to the patient.