Many people are amazed when they discover how huge the market for eye doctors is. Since 2018, demand for optometrists in the United States alone has been growing at a rate of about 1.8% each year. People now spend more than $22 billion on the services of optometrists every year. Many people end up visiting the optometrist when they start to experience light sensitivity.
Other people are not sure if sensitivity to light merits a visit to the eye doctor or not.
The truth is that there are many different possible causes of light sensitivity in your eyes. Some of these causes are temporary and mild. They will often go away on their own.
On the other hand, light sensitivity can sometimes be a sign of a serious problem with your ocular health. It is important to visit the optometrist if you develop light sensitivity to make sure that you are not ignoring a serious problem with your eyes. So what causes light sensitivity?
Read on to learn about some of the most common causes of light sensitivity in your eyes!
Anterior Uveitis Can Cause Light Sensitivity
This condition is also called iritis. It refers to an inflammation of the iris. The iris is the color part of your eye that surrounds the pupil.
In many cases, this inflammation comes with pain and redness as well. If the cause of your light sensitivity is anterior uveitis, then you might also experience blurred vision or see floaters.
If your optometrist diagnoses you with anterior uveitis, they may end up prescribing corticosteroids to treat it. In other cases, pupil-dilating medications can be an effective treatment.
Usually, your anterior uveitis eye health problem will resolve within a few weeks. However, if it keeps coming back, you may need to see an eye care specialist to resolve it.
Sometimes, people get anterior uveitis independently of any other condition. However, it can also show up in connection with rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease.
Your Sensitivity Might Come From Headaches
In other cases, your sensitivity to light will come from a headache. That goes double if you are experiencing a migraine headache. In fact, almost any kind of muscular activation in your face can trigger discomfort when you have a bad headache.
Many people do not stop and think about how their eyes’ reaction to light involves muscle activation. Although some of the muscles in the eyes are involuntary, they are still connected to surrounding tissues and can cause pain or sensitivity when they contract.
You might have a migraine headache if you are experiencing sensitivity to sound as well as light. On top of that, migraine headaches often come with nausea and general fatigue. In some cases, you might even experience tingling or numbness around the body.
Some people have recurring migraine headaches, so you might not be able to permanently rid yourself of light sensitivity if this is its cause. On the other hand, you can sometimes keep migraine headaches from happening with Botox injections. Even if you do get a migraine headache, you can also treat it with triptans or normal pain medications like acetaminophen.
Glaucoma Can Make You Sensitive to Light
Another common cause of light sensitivity is glaucoma. This refers to a condition in which there is excessive pressure inside your eye.
Your eye depends on a certain amount of intraocular pressure to function normally. However, if this pressure gets too high, it can cause light sensitivity, eye pain, and loss of vision.
The faster you can catch glaucoma, the better the chance that treatment will help you resolve it or manage it adequately. That is another reason why it is important to see an eye doctor if you are beginning to experience light sensitivity.
If you do have glaucoma, then you might start to see halos around lights as well. People with glaucoma often experience loss of vision around the periphery first.
However, you can treat glaucoma with eye drops, oral medications, and surgery if necessary.
Corneal Abrasions Cause Light Sensitivity
A corneal abrasion refers to a scratch on your cornea. In most cases, they are caused by something like a piece of sand in your eye. Other people accidentally scratch their corneas while putting in or taking out contact lenses.
Corneal abrasions cause many of the same symptoms as the other potential causes of light sensitivity that we have discussed. They can cause blurry vision, redness, and eye discharge. However, one of the distinct symptoms of a corneal abrasion is that it can feel like there is always something in your eye.
It can be difficult for your cornea to heal itself. If this is what is causing your light sensitivity, it is vital that you see an optometrist as soon as possible.
You might need to wear a temporary eye patch until your cornea heals. Your doctor may provide you with eye drops or ointment to help your cornea heal as fast as possible.
Know the Common Causes of Light Sensitivity
Some people become concerned when they start to experience light sensitivity for the first time. However, there is a long list of possible causes of light sensitivity. Depending on your situation, your sensitivity could be temporary or it could require the attention of a doctor.
To learn more about how you can find the best optometrist for your ocular health, reach out and get in touch with us here!