Understanding and overcoming light sensitivity

In the spotlight: understanding and overcoming light sensitivity

Photophobia, light sensitivity, light aversion.

If you’re experiencing visual discomfort due to changing light conditions, it might be worth exploring various spectacle lens options, one of which is light-adaptive lenses, designed to help manage your exposure to varying light intensities.

We’re diving into the details to help you understand exactly what light sensitivity is, who it affects and how to combat it with photochromic spectacle lenses from quality lens manufacturers such as HOYA.


What is light sensitivity?

Light sensitivity, also known as photophobia, is an intolerance to light that causes discomfort or pain¹. Individuals with light sensitivity experience reactions like squinting to bright light sources (such as sunlight or artificial light) but may also be impacted by lower intensity levels. According to WebMD, “Photophobia isn't a condition, it's a symptom of another problem.”²


Who does it affect?

It's a common misconception that light sensitivity only affects older adults. While it is more prevalent among seniors due to age-related eye changes (think cataracts or glaucoma), along with increased medication use and reduced eye pigmentation over time, younger individuals are also experiencing light sensitivity. Globally, light sensitivity is on the rise, particularly among the younger population. Statistics show that 66% of people experience light sensitivity, with 74% of those affected aged between 18 and 40.³ Factors such as lifestyle changes and increased screen time with raising concerns about digital eye strain contribute to this. As Verywell Health notes, light sensitivity is “often a recurrent and benign (not medically serious) experience.”⁴


The most common symptoms:

Although you may experience an obvious reaction to a brighter environment, sometimes the symptoms can be less explicit. In case of experiencing the following symptoms when exposed to light, reach out to your Eye Care Professional:

  • Pain or discomfort
  • Squinting or closing the eyes
  • Regular lights appear too bright
  • Seeing bright coloured spots
  • Excessive tearing or watery eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches or migraines


The solution:

There are few solutions to help combat light sensitivity, but we believe there is just one that blends convenience and comfort, with protection and aesthetic satisfaction: photochromic lenses.


Combining the benefit of prescription lenses with the UV protection in sunglasses, light-adaptive lenses – such as HOYA's Sensity range – ensure that your eyes are protected in a variety of climate and light conditions. By darkening your clear lenses when exposed to UV light and fading back to clear when indoors, this 2-in-1 solution empowers a lifestyle without limits.


As detailed by All About Vision, adding anti-reflective coating to photochromic lenses enhances their performance even further: “Anti-reflective (AR) coating allows more light to pass through photochromic lenses for sharper vision in low-light conditions (such as driving at night), and eliminates bothersome reflections of sunlight and other light from the backside of the lenses in bright conditions.”⁵


As symptoms and needs vary between each person, it’s essential to connect with a trusted Eye Care Professional to determine the ideal light-adaptive lenses that suit you. No matter where life takes you, photochromic lenses equip you to enjoy it to the fullest.

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  1. (1)

    https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/photophobia. Date accessed 04/2024

  2. (2)

    https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/photophobia-facts. Date accessed 04/2024

  3. (3)

    HOYA data on file. Harris Interactive. Usage and Attitude Study Prescription Glasses. 03/2022

  4. (4)

    https://www.verywellhealth.com/overview-of-photophobia-4586489. Date accessed 04/2024

  5. (5)

    https://www.allaboutvision.com/lenses/photochromic.htm Date accessed 04/2024