Eye-related photophobia

Richard Armstrong

Research output: Contribution to specialist publication or newspaperArticle


This article provides an overview of the various eye-related causes of photophobia and the likely mechanisms responsible. Photophobia is an experience of discomfort affecting the eyes due to exposure to light. It has a variety of causes including the result of eye or brain disease, or it can be a side effect of various drugs or laser surgery. Photophobia can also be a symptom of a more serious disorder such as meningitis and therefore, requires appropriate investigation, diagnosis, and treatment. Trauma or disease affecting several structures of the eye are a common cause of photophobia and can be associated with: (1) the ocular adnexia, such as blepharitis and blepharospasm, (2) the cornea, including abrasion, ulcerative keratitis, and corneal dystrophy, (3) problems in eye development, such as aniridia, buphthalmos, coloboma, and aphakia, (4) various eye inflammations, including uveitis, and (5) retinal disorders, such as achromatopsia, retinal detachment, and retinal dystrophy. There may be two main explanations for eye-related photophobia: (1) direct stimulation of the trigeminal nerve due to damage, disease, or excessive light entering the eye and (2) overstimulation of the retina including a specific population of light-sensitive ganglion cells.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages5
Specialist publicationOptometry Today
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • eye
  • photophobia
  • congenital abnormality
  • infection
  • corneal trauma
  • retinal disease


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