As there are currently no medications that specifically treat photophobia or light sensitivity, people often have to find inventive ways to address the pain. But don’t let anyone tell you that taking a few vitamins or supplements is all it takes to combat this persistent symptom. The fact is most options for natural relief are behavioral with a few products thrown in for good measure. This is a short list of some of our favorite photophobia home remedies.
Gradually increase light exposure
You can’t hide out in the dark or cover your eyes with sunglasses inside. It may surprise you to learn that this practice can actually make you more sensitive to light over time, according to medical experts at the American Migraine Foundation. Keeping lights on—even at dimmer levels—is an important step to alleviating the problem.
Get rid of fluorescent light bulbs, and be wary of LEDs too
Fluorescent lighting has an invisible flicker and a significant amount of blue light—both of which can worsen photophobia and light-sensitive conditions. LED light bulbs, even with warmer color tones, may not be a better alternative either because of the impact they can have on light sensitivity and migraine—and the flicker associated with LEDs may be even more prominent. Indirect natural lighting may cause the least discomfort, but even that is probably best tolerated in small doses.
Fully open your window blinds (or close them altogether)
Striped and high contrast light patterns have been shown to exacerbate an overactive brain. Completely opening or closing your window blinds can remove the issue of scattered light hitting your eyes unexpectedly. (If you do opt to close them, make sure you have enough light elsewhere)
Double check your medications
Although there is no definitive list of medications that cite photophobia as a side effect, some optometrists and medical professionals have linked it with common drugs used to treat other conditions. You should always consult with your doctor about any issues or side effects related to your medication as well as whether or not you should continue taking them.
Wear sunglasses with polarization when outside
If you have to go into daylight, make sure you grab your polarized sunglasses to cut down on glare, reflection and sunlight.
Check your contact lenses or prescription glasses
Eye strain is a prominent culprit for worsening photophobia, yet often can be easily addressed by wearing your contact lenses or prescription glasses. This way you don’t have to strain your eyes too hard to focus. But make sure your contact lenses are clean because inflammation, red and itchy eyes can also make your sensitivity to light more pronounced.
Put on your precision tinted lenses
If you own a pair of indoor TheraSpecs glasses for photophobia, make sure you wear them around known interior light triggers. These are a great natural remedy for light sensitivity because they will keep you protected against the most painful wavelengths of light that can aggravate your condition.
Take a break from your computer or mobile device
Computer vision syndrome is a real health concern for people who spend all day on the computer or mobile device. Eye strain, headaches and sensitivity to light can all be symptoms. Take frequent eye breaks from your device or, heck, even put it down for a while if you can. And, if you do have to be on it, follow a few other simple hacks that can make a difference.
Dry eyes can also lead to greater levels of photophobia, especially if you are diagnosed with dry eye syndrome. At minimum, eyes that lack proper moisture can lead to itchiness, redness or generalized sensitivity. Eye drops and over-the-counter artificial tears can keep them lubricated and tone down the pain of light.
Give your house a good wipe down
Nobody likes streaks, grime or dirt on their furniture or floors, but they can be especially bad for photophobic eyes. One of the most simple home remedies is to wipe down surfaces inside your home; this will remove the threat of unsightly glare and keep harmful particles from getting into your eyes.
Cover up reflective surfaces
Those shiny surfaces can be a real pain when light hits it at just right angle. Covering these items up with a towel or sheet or maybe adorning them with non-reflective knick knacks might not be ideal from a style standpoint, but it can help minimize the chances of aggravating your sensitivity to light.
Find ways to de-stress
Migraine-related photophobia is often connected to other psychological disorders, including depression and anxiety. Although the exact causation remains unknown, stress and anxiety can trigger episodes or attacks and otherwise lead to pain in a person with light sensitivity. Whether it’s yoga or other exercise, listening to music, or watching your favorite TV show, finding your own personal happy place can make a big difference in how you feel.
These are some of our practiced home remedies for photophobia and light sensitivity, but have you tried something not included on this list? Let us know!