Photophobia

Photophobia: Description, Causes and Risk Factors: It is a common symptom with almost all forms of migraine and Neuro-ophthalmic disorders. It is even included as one of the major criteria of migraine in the International Headache Society Classification of migraine. It is listed as a major symptom in blepharospasm. The symptom is used to diagnose uveitis and iritis. We all see patients who have this vexing complaint, but for such a common symptom, so little understanding exists. PhotophobiaAnterior segment diseases such as iritis, cyclitis, blepharitis have long been known to cause photophobia. In fact, in one study researchers found that the more superficial the corneal lesion, the more severe the photophobia. Acute meningeal irritation causes photophobia as well. After meningitis or sub-arachnoid hemorrhage, photophobia is a common complaint, Pituitary apoplexy and tumors have also been described to cause photophobia, presumably due to irritation of the basal meninges around the diaphragma sellae. Photophobia is commonly associated with a few serious conditions that affect the brain. These include: Encephalitis, which occurs when your brain is inflamed from a viral infection or other cause. Severe cases of it can be life-threatening.
  • Meningitis, a bacterial infection that causes inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. The bacterial form can lead to serious complications such as brain damage, hearing loss, and seizures.
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage, which occurs when you have bleeding between your brain and the surrounding layers of tissue. It can be fatal or lead to brain damage or a stroke.
Other risk factors: Acute iritis or uveitis (inflammation inside eye).
  • Burns to the eye.
  • Corneal abrasion.
  • Corneal ulcer.
  • Eye disease, injury, or infection (such as chalazion, episcleritis, glaucoma).
  • Migraine headache.
Symptoms: Symptoms associated with photophobia include: Headache.
  • Nausea.
  • Neck stiffness.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Sore or wound in eye.
  • Redness.
  • Itching.
  • Swelling.
  • Dizziness.
  • Changes in hearing.
Diagnosis: The following tests may be done: Slit-lamp examination.
  • Corneal scraping.
  • Lumbar puncture.
  • Pupil dilation.
Treatment: The best treatment for this disease is to address the underlying cause. Once the triggering factor is treated, photophobia disappears in many but not all cases. Patients with photophobia will avert their eyes from direct light (sunlight and room lights), or may seek the shelter of a dark room or wear sunglasses. NOTE: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.

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