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Photophobia 101

Photophobia describes a strong, sensitive reaction to light. Frequently referred to as light sensitivity, it is a symptom of many conditions rather than a distinct condition itself.

Photophobia can manifest as frequent or rare, chronic or acute, and painful or painless. It is a broad phenomenon, and one which research has not fully shed light on.

Photophobia is a neurological phenomenon that is not necessarily connected to vision at all. The nerves which communicate light intensity (and overexposure) are separate from the nervous pathways communicating visual messages to the brain.

Blue and red light wavelengths in particular are responsible for the onset of photophobic symptoms, which is why MigraLens filters block a high percentage of both ends of the visible light spectrum, as well as 100% of UVA and UVB.

Scientists have suggested that there will be a chemical solution to the phenomenon, however until such a possibility is thoroughly tested and proven, there are proven non-invasive pathways to reducing the impact of photophobia.

Photophobia can take both a physical and an emotional toll. The physical can range from more common symptoms of eye strain and headache or Migraine, to inflammation and dizziness in some.

Physical effects can be felt both in the short and long term, with some feeling a related impact on their general health and well-being, as well as reported connections to breathing issues in some rarer cases.

As with many chronic conditions, photophobia can be associated with many negative emotions such as anger and depression, but also anxiety and social conditions.

Both those suffering from photophobia as well as those in close contact with someone who is struggling with the emotional weight of light sensitivity should be prepared to provide a supportive atmosphere. Taking proactive measures such as words of encouragement, being understanding and flexible with social plans, and helping to create a more physically welcoming space are all steps that should be encouraged.