Photosensitivity and photophobia, though used interchangeably, are conditions that happen when you are highly sensitive to light. They are common medical conditions that aren’t due to any disease but could be a symptom of a different eye problem.

Photosensitivity is the immune condition to ultraviolet light and can cause fatigue, joint pain, rashes, and flu-like symptoms. People who have lupus and other autoimmune conditions often suffer from photosensitivity. In addition, patients who take antibiotics, birth control pills, and diuretics can also experience photosensitivity.

Meanwhile, photophobia causes eye pain when exposed to light. In addition, people who have the condition typically manifest squinting, neck stiffness, and headaches. Also, photophobic patients sense regular light as extremely bright, which can cause discomfort and visibility problems during nighttime driving.

If you experience photosensitivity or photophobia, you must avoid exposure to direct sunlight and wear dark glasses regularly. Doctors also recommend darkening your rooms so you wouldn’t feel much pain associated with the condition.

Regular visits to ophthalmologists and optometrists can help people suffering from these conditions. These doctors can prescribe the necessary medications to manage the pain and other symptoms and can also help take care of other resultant eye problems. Here are some underlying eye conditions associated with photophobia and photosensitivity.

Dry eyes

Dry eyes happen when your eyes cannot produce enough tears to stay wet. The condition makes your eyes feel uncomfortable and can also cause eye problems. Patients with dry eyes can avail of the ultimate dry eyes treatment to help restore moisture and lubrication to the eyes using a laser.


Uveitis is the inflammation of the inside of your eye. This happens when your body’s warding off an infection or attacks healthy eye tissue. Uveitis causes redness, eye pain, and vision loss. The condition affects the uvea and other parts of the eye. It can be a short- or long-term condition that needs medical attention as it can affect one or both eyes.


Keratoconjunctivitis is an eye condition with simultaneous inflammation in the cornea and conjunctiva. You can have a unilateral (one eye infected) or bilateral (both eyes infected) condition. You can experience an infectious or non-infectious bout of keratoconjunctivitis, and the condition can last less than a week (hyperacute), between three to four weeks (acute), and more than four weeks (chronic). Doctors can prescribe eye drops, lubricating ointments, cold compress, antihistamines, and eyelid scrubs.


Iritis is the irritation and swelling of the iris, also known as anterior uveitis. Doctors say that iritis is the most common form of uveitis. However, they cannot pinpoint any specific cause and say it happens because of a genetic or another underlying factor. People suffering from iritis can manifest discomfort and aching in the affected eye, decreased vision, sensitivity to light, and redness.

If left untreated, iritis can lead to glaucoma, so it’s important to consult a doctor once you experience any of the given symptoms.


People who are sensitive to light can either be photosensitive or photophobic. It’s necessary to consult a doctor to manage them properly.