There are numerous chronic conditions in which light plays a significant role, either as a trigger before an attack or as a symptom during or after it. Here are a few facts about light sensitivity and chronic illness that may surprise you.
- There are dozens of conditions that cite photophobia or painful light sensitivity as a medically-recognized symptom.
More info: Photophobia and Headache Disorders: An Overview
- Wearing sunglasses indoors for an extended period can actually increase light sensitivity over time (known as “dark adaptation”)
More info: Chronic Dark Adaptation: The Problem With Wearing Sunglasses Indoors
Migraine / Headache Disorders
Specific wavelengths of blue light (480 to 520nm) have been shown to be the most harmful in triggering or worsening migraine symptoms; blue light is especially prevalent, including in fluorescent lighting, sunlight, LED/LCD screens and other common sources.
More info: Light of Intrinsically Photosensitive Retinal Ganglion Cell (ipRGC) Causing Migraine Headache Exacerbation
Fluorescent lighting has been shown to double the rate of headaches reported by office workers.
More info: LED Lighting Flicker and Potential Health Concerns
- 50% of fibromyalgia patients suffer from external sensitivities, including those that come from bright lights and smells (Fibromyalgia Network, 1999)
More info: Neurologic Relief Centers
- About 3 to 5 percent of the 2.7 million Americans with epilepsy (approximately 100,000 individuals) are photosensitive.
More info: Epilepsy Foundation
Light sensitivity affects younger epileptic patients at a greater rate. In fact, more than 30% of people with juvenile myoclonic epilepsy are photosensitive.
More info: Epilepsy Research UK
- Adults under 30 years of age have higher rates of digital eye strain symptoms (73%) compared with other age groups.
- More than 90% of individuals with digital eye strain reported using devices for more than two hours per day.
More info: Digital Eye Strain Report 2016
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