Are my eyes getting more sensitive as I get older?

I don’t know about you, but I am feeling my age! COVID-19 has kept us indoors more than usual. In addition, this huge March snowstorm put my eyes sensitivity over the top. As a result, we want to look into eye sensitivity. What causes this? Why is it so bad? Are there factors that make it worse? Is age a factor? What can I do to help? 

Light sensitivity

First of all, let’s look at eye sensitivity in general. According to Duke Health, the belief light eyes have more sensitivity is true. If you have a lighter color eye, you may find yourself reaching for those sunglasses more than your brown eyed friends. Photophobia, or light sensitivity, affects light eyes more because they have less pigmentation in multiple layers of the eye than those who have darker eyes.

What factors, specifically age, can make this worse?

As may things in your body, vision changes as we age. There are specific age-related vision diseases, such as presbyopia (the loss of the ability to see close objects), floaters, dry eyes, tearing eyes, cataracts, glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration (AMD, and more.

Light sensitivity can increase as eyes age. This does become an even larger issue in patients that experiences AMD. Please also note, if you feel light sensitivity, it may be due to an infection or trauma. It is important to see an eye doctor if these issues seem abnormal.

Living in Colorado also can cause light sensitivity. This is not only because we experience so many days of sunlight, but also because of the weather. Have you noticed as you drive on a sunny day after a snowstorm your eyes seem to have more sensitivity? This is because things like trunks of cars, water, windows, objects on the ground, or snow can reflect light in an angle. This means normal UV blocking sunglasses do not stop this light from entering your eyes. If you are living in a place where this happens often, it is a good idea to find an ideal pair of polarized sunglasses.

What are polarized sunglasses?

If you have not heard of a polarized sunglass, it is basically a filter within the lenses that blocks the horizontal light that is bouncing off of objects. A lot of people will ask for fishing glasses, that is a polarized lens because they can see the water without sensitivity to light. Or look through a window without catching the sun.

What can I do to help?

There are some things patients can do to decrease of light sensitivity and discomfort.

  • Start now with helping your eyes avoid sun damage (always wear sunglasses)
  • Avoid harsh sun light
  • Wear UV-blocking sunglasses (or polarized lenses)
  • Wear wide-brimmed hats

If you are looking for a pair of polarized lenses or want to check if your eye sensitivity is abnormal, contact us today for an appointment!