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abnormal visual intolerance to light. adj., adj photopho´bic.


Light-induced pain, especially of the eyes; for example, in uveitis, the light-induced movement of the iris may be painful.
Synonym(s): photodynia, photophobia
[phot- + G. algos, pain]


/pho·to·pho·bia/ (-fo´be-ah) abnormal visual intolerance to light.photopho´bic


1. An abnormal sensitivity to or intolerance of light, especially by the eyes, as may be caused by eye inflammation, lack of pigmentation in the iris, or various diseases.
2. An abnormal or irrational fear of light.


Etymology: Gk, phos + phobos, fear
1 abnormal sensitivity to light, especially of the eyes. The condition is prevalent in albinism and various diseases of the conjunctiva and cornea and may be a symptom of such disorders as measles, psittacosis, encephalitis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Reiter's syndrome.
2 (in psychiatry) a morbid fear of light with an irrational need to avoid light places. The anxiety disorder is seen more often in women than in men and is usually caused by a repressed intrapsychic conflict symbolically related to light. photophobic, adj.


 Painful oversensitivity to light


Morbid dread and avoidance of light. Although often an expression of undue anxiety about the eyes, photosensitivity and photalgia, past or present, should be considered.
[photo- + G. phobos, fear]


Undue intolerance to light. This is a feature of certain eye disorders, especially corneal abrasions or ulcers, IRIDOCYCLITIS and congenital glaucoma. It also occurs in MIGRAINE and MENINGITIS.


Extreme sensitivity to light. Photophobia is a major symptom of acute uveitis.
Mentioned in: Color Blindness, Uveitis


Abnormal fear or intolerance of light. It can be physiological, although it often accompanies inflammations of the anterior segment of the eye, especially anterior uveitis. It is also noted in patients with cone degeneration. Management is usually aimed at treating the primary cause (e.g. keratitis, uveitis), but in other cases (e.g. albinism, drug-induced mydriasis, recent aphakes, fear of light) tinted lenses will give relief. See albinism; corneal abrasion; recurrent corneal erosion; iritis; keratitis; monochromat; uveitis.


abnormal visual intolerance to light. Expressed in animals by closing of the eyelids when exposed to light. Difficult to differentiate from blepharospasm due to conjunctivitis.

Patient discussion about photophobia

Q. I had cataract surgery with iol implant, and ever since I have awful light sensitivity. Any ideas? I can't go into a "super store" without my sunglasses. My eyes ache at the end of the day. My doctor says "I don't know!"

A. May sound a bit silly question, but have you tried to consult your ophthalmologist (eye doctor, e.g. the one that performed the operation) about it? Cataract surgery, although considered very successful, isn't problem-free. Primary physician may not have the necessary specialization to deal with these subjects.

Q. Hey ! i am sensitive to light , every time i go out with a short sleeve i get this red rush all over.. what can i do ?

A. You should see a dermatologist or even your personal physician when this happens. Sensitivity to light is common in various medical conditions you should get checked up for.

More discussions about photophobia
References in periodicals archive ?
In this study, we evaluated macular light sensitivity and fixation characteristics by MP-1 microperimetry in patients with diabetic macular edema and compared it with age-matched healthy controls.
The elaborate light sensitivity of 4 Lux allows recording even in twilight, the statement said.
The values of K and m were used to compare light sensitivity and sensitivity to contrast and changing light intensities.
They found no evidence showing flickering or electromagnetic fields to have any effect on individuals with or without light sensitivity issues.
Having an HD camera solution available that offers such exceptional low light sensitivity puts OmniVision in a strong position in the high performance security camera space.
The other butterfly cryptochrome works like the mouse's, with no light sensitivity but a strong braking effect on the clock gears.
Those with very severe light sensitivity are unable to tolerate exposure to ultra-violet light given off by the new bulbs.
It has a 1/3-inch DPS picture sensor with a fixed lens and light sensitivity of less than 0.
These preliminary data implicate a role for the PLCa4-mediated signaling pathway in circadian rhythms, specifically in communicating light information from the RHT to the SCN, and modulating the light sensitivity of the clock.
In addition, our OmniPixel technology significantly improves the light sensitivity of the sensor, resulting in a higher signal-to-noise ratio--meaning the camera will perform better in lowlight situations.
A very fast 5 [micro]s electronic shutter eliminates motion blur during the recording of extremely high-speed events, and exceptional light sensitivity reduces lighting requirements.
The conservator should assess the condition of the piece(s) and help to determine the circumstances under which the scanning can occur: Generally, the conservator will consider fragility, light sensitivity, binding structure, etc.