Help and frequently asked questions

Why are my eyes so sensitive to light?


Sensitivity to light - also referred to as photosensitivity or photophobia - can be a symptom associated with a range of eye issues.If you are experiencing photosensitivity, you may also notice other symptoms related to this issue - including discharge from your eye or headaches. There are a number of reasons why these symptoms can present themselves.

Most commonly, it is associated with inflammation and infection, but because there are many reasons why your eyes can be particularly sensitive to light, it is best to consult with your optometrist, who can help you determine the underlying cause of your photophobia.

Your eye colour

Did you know that you might be more sensitive to light if you have blue or green eyes than people who have brown eyes? This is because darker-coloured eyes contain more pigment, which offers natural protection in bright sunlight and other harsh conditions. If you have a natural light sensitivity, protecting your eyes with sunglasses and a broad-brimmed hat can help alleviate your symptoms. Your optometrist may recommend polarised sunglasses, or special contact lenses designed to help people cope with light sensitivity.


Certain prescriptions may make you more sensitive to light than you have been in the past. If you recently started taking a new medication and are now noticing an increased sensitivity to light, you may wish to flag your concerns with your doctor or optometrist. In certain cases, they may recommend changing to a different medication, or they may advise additional protective measures you can take in bright light until your course of treatment is over. If you have any questions about complications or side effects from any medical drugs you are taking, make sure you speak to your doctor, pharmacist or optometrist to weigh up what options may be available to you.

Other complications

Increased light sensitivity can be linked to a range of other serious eye complications, including retinal detachment and corneal abrasion. It can also be associated with eye infections, including conjunctivitis. If you notice any sudden changes to your vision, including light sensitivity, book an appointment with your optometrist so that you can receive the correct diagnosis and treatment. Photosensitivity can also be linked with a number of serious health conditions, including meningitis. In some cases, your optometrist may also advise following up with your doctor to determine how best to treat the underlying cause of your light sensitivity.