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8 medical conditions that can cause light sensitivity

Sunlight, fluorescent light and incandescent light can cause severe discomfort for people who suffer from light sensitivity, or photophobia. Affected people may frequently need to squint, shield or close their eyes. Light sensitivity is not a disease, but rather a symptom of medical conditions and medications. It can be related to the eyes or nervous system as well as other conditions.

Here are eight conditions or treatments that can cause light sensitivity:

  1. Autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, SPD and developmental delays can cause excessive sensitivity to light, or photophobia, and can be complicated by visual stress-producing factors that overload the visual environment.
  2. Dyslexia is not just a severe reading disorder characterized by reversals. It is a syndrome characterized by many reading and non-reading symptoms, such as light sensitivity, that are specific to individual diagnoses.
  3. Meningitis is the acute inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord.
  4. Albinism can cause light sensitivity due to the improper development of the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and further increases glare due to light scattering within the eye.
  5. Chemotherapy treatment can lead to symptoms including light sensitivity as well as dry or watery eyes, conjunctivitis and cataracts.
  6. Isotretinoin is a medication primarily used to treat severe acne. Light sensitivity is one potential side effect.
  7. Migraines can vary from person to person, but light sensitivity is a common symptom. It can begin as early as the prodrome phase (or first phase) of a migraine attack and continue through the headache phase.
  8. Rabies is a viral infection of the nervous system that can cause light sensitivity.

Sunglasses are not enough to curb the discomfort and pain many people endure due to light sensitivity. Lighting controls can provide the ability to customize and set individual light levels in order to help improve comfort levels and confront light sensitivity. This can be beneficial for anyone, but especially for those sensitive to light.