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Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 7808
Experience:  Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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extreme..I believe my eyes were damaged by the lights in the gym

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In the last few days I have developed extreme sensitivity to light and have to wear sunglasses indoors. I believe my eyes were damaged by the lights in the gym of my son's school, where we started going every day after school. The lights did lead me to feel quite agitated and I felt the need to shield my eyes in the gym.

Light sensitivity does run in my family, especially issues with flourescent lights, and most in my family work under natural light only during the day.

Meanwhile my son has had attention issues at school, while at home he has a long attention span, and he recently told me that when he reads he feels like he's looking at the sun. (He hates to read although he loves to be read to and is verbally very bright). His attention issues at school got worse in the past 2 months.

Are my eyes likely to recover?
Are there ophthamologists who specialize in light sensitivity and can you recommend one in the pacific northwest?
I will have my son assessed for Irlen syndrome. Are there other tests I should have run?
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 3 years ago.
Hi. I'm online and happy to answer your question today.
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 3 years ago.
Do you have any medical problems or take any medicine? How about your son? We can discuss both your issues -- yours and your son's....

Are you eyes red at all? Do they itch or burn?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I don't have any significant diagnosed health issues. My recent blood tests were all fine. I take some supplements such as turmeric, vitamin D, acidophilus, fish oil. I have had issues with brain fog and attention the last 2 years which I now believe is related to light senstivity and proximity of my computer to my head and/or eye strain. I can not use a cell phone because I feel ill from the radiation. It is not clear to me what type of specialist I need to see for these issues.

 

My eyes do not itch or burn. They do not look very red. Maybe a little.

 

My son has been taking fish oil with an increased dose the last 2 months at request of his doctor. No known health issues other than he's quite active and has some attention issues. No other medications other than 1000 IU Vitamin D and vitamin C, Bs.

Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 3 years ago.
Concerning your son's issues......there has been extensive review of the claims concerning Irlen's syndrome and their supposed research supporting it and there is no medical evidence that this "syndrome" exists at all. I would not waste your time testing for this condition in your son. The only thing that the treatment for Irlen's syndrome has been proven to provide beyond a shadow of a doubt is the ability to transfer money from your bank account to that of the person offering the treatment.

I would suggest you have your son evaluated by an ophthalmologist to rule out any ocular pathology. If this comes back normal then she would be able to recommend other tests to further evaluate your son and offer possible treatment options.

There are many possible causes of your light sensitivity. The most common would be dry eyes and blepharitis.

Dry eyes is very common and can be improved by a stepwise series of therapies. First, the use of natural tears 4-6+ times/day to augment your natural tear production, then temporary punctal occlusion of the lower puncta, then temporary occlusion of all 4 puncta then surgical ( non-reversible) closure of the puncta.

Blepharitis is a condition where glands in the eyelids are not functioning normally. They become plugged and instead of putting out their normal clear, oily secretions, they put out thick, toothpaste like gunk.

The best treatment for this condition daily lid scrubs combined with warm compresses. I like to use baby shampoo for lid scrubs. In the shower, place the shampoo on your index fingers, close your eyes, raise your eyebrows (to stretch the skin on you eyelids) and scrub back and forth along your eyelashes for 3 to 5 minutes. The hot water in the shower helps to soften the plugged oils in the glands while the mechanical scrubbing with your soapy fingers removes the oils.


Other, less common but more severe, causes of photophobia are intraocular inflammation (uvieits) and some forms of glaucoma. These can only be diagnosed by an ophthalmologist during a complete eye exam.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I do have dry eyes. I had the temporary plugs and it didn't seem to do much. Perhaps I should try again. I had the test done where they see how long it takes for the oil surface on the eye to break apart and with mine it breaks apart very quickly. In general, living in the overcast wet skies of Oregon is very helpful. Thanks for your suggestions. I had not heard about lid scrubs before.

 

So for someone with light sensitivity, can exposure to some types of lights lead to eye damage? Is this current reaction going to improve shortly? I have never had anything like this before.

Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 3 years ago.
There is no danger that your eyes will be damaged by exposure to the types of normal lighting used in everyday places.

It can take up to 3 or 4 weeks for the lid scrubs to "kick in" and take effect. Give it time. Also, if the lid scrubs don't' make things better having the punctal plugs replaced is a good option.

I hope that this information was helpful for you. Please, allow me get credit for my time and effort in assisting you and press the ACCEPT button for this assist. I will be glad to answer additional questions until you are satisfied. Thank you very much.

Have a great Holiday Season.
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 7808
Experience: Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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