‘Photophobia’ or sensitivity to light could signal dry eyes – expert


Some eyesight issues are completely unavoidable. However, others can be affected by certain lifestyle factors and living conditions. For example, there are several vision problems that can worsen in the winter months.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Carl Greatbanks, from Vision Direct, explained: “During the colder months, our eyes can start to suffer with symptoms of dry eye disease, tired or itchy eyes, light sensitivity, and blepharitis (where the edges of your eyelids become red and swollen).

“Coupled with a reduced immune system and the intensification of viruses, we are less able to fight off bacterial infections, with a potential consequence of winter ailments being viral conjunctivitis, so it is important that we protect our eyes during this season.”

One such condition that is affected by the seasons is having dry eyes.

This is due to dry conditions, such as heated homes and cars.

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“Regulating the temperature in your house to ensure moisture retention is a must if you are experiencing eye-related symptoms from a drop in temperature,” Mr Greatbanks said.

“This should help keep your eyes hydrated during winter.

“Warm air causes dry eyes.

“You should avoid warm air directly on your eyes, for example move the air vents of the car away from your face when travelling and avoid sitting too close to log fires, as these intense heats can quickly dry out your eyes and cause irritation.”

He warned: “If left untreated, dry eye can lead to pain, ulcers, or scars on the cornea, and some loss of vision.


The Royal National Institute of Blind People says: “For some people, this discomfort can be extreme and can further reduce their usable vision.”

Other symptoms of dry eyes include:

  • Blurry vision or eye fatigue
  • A stinging, scratchy or burning sensation in your eyes
  • Redness
  • Light sensitivity
  • Watery eyes (this is your body trying to overcompensate for the dryness)
  • Feeling like there’s something stuck in your eyes
  • Struggling to wear contact lenses.

Mr Greatbanks added: “If you find your eyes are more susceptible to getting dry you may also administer eye drops to provide additional lubrication.

“You can buy eye drops online or off the shelf in most supermarkets and high street pharmacies.”

To prevent other eye issues and infections Mr Greatbanks also advised avoiding rubbing them.

“The winter season increases the risk of infection, for example viral conjunctivitis often accompanies an upper respiratory tract infection, such as a cold virus, which are more common during the winter months,” he said.

“Rubbing your eyes can exacerbate the symptoms and could even spread the infection.

“Rubbing your eyes can also cause damage to the area which can make it more susceptible to infection as well. If your eyes feel irritated use a clean tissue or damp cotton pad to wipe the area and make sure you regularly wash your hands too.”



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