Light Sensitivity (Photophobia)/ Ocular Migraines

Light Sensitivity (Photophobia)

What is Light Sensitivity (Photophobia)?

Light sensitivity (otherwise know as photophobia) is a symptom of light intolerance. It can involve an uncomfortable and some time painful feeling in response to sunlight or bright indoor lighting such as fluorescent light bulbs.

What are the common causes of Light Sensitivity (Photophobia):

    • Dry eye 
    • Cataracts 
    • Conjunctivitis
    • Eye allergies 
    • Macular Degeneration
    • Keratitis (inflammation of the cornea)
    • Uveitis (inflammation inside the eye)
    • Ocular Albinism
    • Damage to the retina
    • Blepharospasm (a condition that makes your eyelids close uncontrollably)

There are other medical conditions that can affect your reaction to light. 

What are the symptoms of Light Sensitivity (Photophobia):

These can vary depending on the person

    • Headaches/ migraines
    • Watery Eyes
    • Sore Eyes 
    • Eye strain/ pain
    • Blinking (excessively)
    • Squinting 
    • Feeling dizzy

Symptoms can range from mild squinting to severe eye pain. Light sensitivity can be a common trigger and symptom of migraines, which can the suffer can feel nausea, eye ache and severe headache. Many migraine sufferers find that they need to recover in a dark room during an attack because of their photophobia, or that bright lights can trigger an attack.

Please Note: sudden light sensitivity can be a sign of a more serious condition such as meningitis so if you have sudden on-set symptoms you must see your GP as soon as possible. 

Treatments/ Improvements and Costs

Light sensitivity cannot altogether be prevent but there are things you can do to help. 

As many cases of light sensitivity are due to an underlying cause, you need to get to the root of the problem first.

  • Start by booking an appointment (all our appointments are free until December and £25 there after) either by call 0113 345 2913 or email: [email protected] when you are booking the appointment mention that you are having problems with light sensitivity and any other relevant information.
    • If there is an underlying problem then we can discuss treatments and solutions.
  • Anti-glare: for indoors this is your best option. Our Vista Mesh Performance/ High Performance (HD) Anti-Glare Crystal Clear prescription package is great for this and what we recommend for patients for indoor and driving at night. This is a clear mid-index lens (lighter and thinner than your standard CR39). It incorporates a micro-mesh filter which acts like a polarising filter in sunglasses. The lens have been designed to align scattered reflections, dampen flicker and block electromagnetic radiation for more info click here from £94 
  • Anti-Reflective coating: Chose an Anti-Reflective coatings to help with harsh office lighting. This is part of our crystal clear coatings package which you can add you prescription lenses from £25
  • Dark Category Tinted lenses: we have many difference types of lens category and can tint lenses down to a category 4 (which is the darkest a lens can go this about 5% light transmission for more info click here from £20
  • Flash Mirror Coatings: This is great for help reduce glare. Flash mirror coatings work by reflecting glare off the lens and away from the eye. What’s great about a flash mirror coating is that unlike the full mirror coating (which you would normally see on your mirrored sunglasses) a flash mirror coating can be applied to a clear lens without darkening them. So you can use it in the office without a problem and all you would be able to see is a sheen on a your otherwise clear lenses for more info click here from £60
  • Photochromic: Choosing a photochromic lens that can darken and lighten depending on the light conditions can help deal with changes in light. Prescription prices vary depending on lens index
  • Polarised Lenses: A polarised lens eliminate glare from reflective surfaces such as snow and water. Prescription prices vary depending on lens index.
  • Sunglasses can be helpful but you wouldn’t want to wear these indoors. You can find these on our website from £20 for a basic pair

Ocular Migraines

What are Ocular Migraines?

Ocular Migraines are temporary visual disturbances. Although they can be alarming, they’re usually nothing to worry about and symptoms will normally disappear on their own after around 30 minutes.

An ocular migraine happens when the blood flow to the eye becomes restricted due to a sudden narrowing of the blood vessels. Once the vessels relax, normal blood flow returns and symptoms clear. Usually, this will have no lasting damage to the eye.

Please note an ocular migraine are different from the headache-type migraine with aura which usually affects both eyes this is a separate conditions. 

What are the common triggers of ocular migraines?

  • Stress
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Certain types of contraceptives
  • Exercise
  • Dehydration
  • Low blood sugar
  • Excessive heat
  • Bending over
  • High Altitude 

What are the symptoms of Ocular migraines?

  • Partial or total loss of vision in 1 eye
  • Headache- this can happen before during or after the vision attack. 
  • Vision MAY slowly become blurred or dimmed, there MAYBE flashes of light. 
  • MAY see a mosaic-like pattern of blank spots which enlarge to cause total vision loss

The same eye is affected most of the time but it is unusual for it to last longer than an hour

They’re more common in women, people over 40, those with a family history of migraines or headaches and people with underlying disease like lupus, epilepsy, the hardening of the arteries and others.

Treatments/ Improvements and cost

  • Start by booking an appointment (all our appointments are free until December and £25 there after) either by call 0113 345 2913 or email: [email protected] when you are booking the appointment mention that you are having problems with Ocular Migraines and any other relevant information.
    • If there is an underlying problem then we can discuss treatments and solutions.
  • Colour Preferencing tests: For some people with migraine's studies have shown that the frequency of headaches might be reduced with coloured lenses. Our optician Phillippa can assess your colour preferencing and find you a specific colour of lens that can help you reduces your headaches. From £45 
  • Anti-glare: for indoors this is your best option. Our Vista Mesh Performance/ High Performance (HD) Anti-Glare Crystal Clear prescription package is great for this and what we recommend for patients for indoor and driving at night. This is a clear mid-index lens (lighter and thinner than your standard CR39). It incorporates a micro-mesh filter which acts like a polarising filter in sunglasses. The lens have been designed to align scattered reflections, dampen flicker and block electromagnetic radiation for more info click here from £94 
  • Anti-Reflective coating: Chose an Anti-Reflective coatings to help with harsh office lighting. This is part of our crystal clear coatings package which you can add you prescription lenses from £25
  • Dark Category Tinted lenses: we have many difference types of lens category and can tint lenses down to a category 4 (which is the darkest a lens can go this about 5% light transmission for more info click here from £20
  • Flash Mirror Coatings: This is great for help reduce glare. Flash mirror coatings work by reflecting glare off the lens and away from the eye. What’s great about a flash mirror coating is that unlike the full mirror coating (which you would normally see on your mirrored sunglasses) a flash mirror coating can be applied to a clear lens without darkening them. So you can use it in the office without a problem and all you would be able to see is a sheen on a your otherwise clear lenses for more info click here from £60
  • Photochromic: Choosing a photochromic lens that can darken and lighten depending on the light conditions can help deal with changes in light. Prescription prices vary depending on lens index
  • Polarised Lenses: A polarised lens eliminate glare from reflective surfaces such as snow and water. Prescription prices vary depending on lens index.
  • Sunglasses can be helpful but you wouldn’t want to wear these indoors. You can find these on our website from £20 for a basic pair.

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