Light sensitivity is a type of visual (sight) sensitivity and it’s also known as photophobia. It describes both too little or too much sensitivity to light – most commonly it will be hypersensitivity to light. If we are hypersensitive to light we have an intense reaction to it and if we are hyposensitive, we have a lack of response to it.

Light sensitivity is not exclusive to neurodivergent people but it is an incredibly common experience for us.

Signs of light sensitivity may include some of these, all of these, and are not limited to the following:

Hypersensitive examples

  • Do you wake up as soon as light appears in the sky, even with the curtains closed?
  • Do you experience headaches/migraines when exposed to bright light – particularly fluorescent lights, strobe lights and LEDs?
  • Do you feel more comfortable wearing sunglasses, even on overcast days, even indoors, even at night (as a passenger in the car)? (It’s worth noting that Specsavers doesn’t recommend wearing sunglasses indoors because it makes it encourages our eyes to adapt the dark conditions and consequently exacerbates our sensitivity – but hey, we do what we have to do in that moment).
  • Are you a shade lover? Someone who doesn’t jump for joy at the prospect of being outside on a sunny day?
  • Does forgetting your sunglasses on a day out (especially if they’re prescription and you can’t grab a new pair of cheapies) have the potential to ruin your experience or even find you heading back home?
  • Do you cover all of the sources of unwelcome light on your technology at home?
  • Do you sleep much better if you wear an eye mask, have black out blinds, or both?

Hyposensitive examples

  • Do you often ‘see double’?
  • Do you struggle to maintain concentration whilst reading, writing, typing, watching TV or gaming? Does this make you feel sleepy, maybe you even fall asleep?
  • Can you sleep soundly, even with the lights on?

For broader information on hypersensitivity ← and hyposensitivity ← please click on these words to return to those pages.

Please also see the entry on Irlen Syndrome, of which light sensitivity is a common symptom.