Photophobia (light sensitivity) is defined as fear to light. There is excessive sensitivity to light, thus people with photophobia try to avoid sunlight or well-lit places. Patients may develop photophobia as a result of different medical conditions, related to the eye or the nervous system.


Photophobia is common amongst patient with acute conjunctivitis. Other causes of photophobia are corneal abrasion, corneal ulcer (keratitis), lighter-colored eyes (such as case of albinism), uveitis, cataracts (of certain type) and those who suffer from migraine headaches. Amongst the condition mentioned, uveitis is the most serious condition because it can lead to many complications if left untreated.

More importantly, photophobia is a symptom of some serious medical disorders such as botulism, rabies, mercury poisoning or meningitis. Thus, those who are experiencing photophobia of acute onset are advised to see a doctor as soon as possible.


The best treatment for light sensitivity is to treat the underlying cause. In many cases, once the triggering factor is treated, photophobia disappears. In the meantime, avoidance of bright sunlight and other bright lights help to reduce the discomfort. Wearing wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses with ultraviolet protection reduce the photophobic symptom.

Last Reviewed : 23 August 2019
Writer : Dr. Joseph Vijaya Alagaratnam
Reviewer : Dr. Rosniza bt. Ab. Razak