Migraines and Sensitivity to light

Patient

Q: Why do I get headaches/migraines when exposed to light? When it hits my eyes my head starts to hurt and I get very irritated.

Symptoms:  Headaches, migraines, increased irratability
Doctor

A:   Thank you for your question. The condition you are experiencing is called photo-sensitivity. This is one of the most common symptoms experienced by persons suffering from migraine headaches. The exact mechanism of why light can trigger migraines has not completely been elucidated however, it is believed that the stimulation of the retina by light within the eye can exacerbate migraines. When light hits the retina at the back of the eye ball, it sends a signal to the brain which is processed in order for you to see. It is in this signalling pathway that pain receptors of the dura (protective covering of the brain) become stimulated thereby potentiating an attack of your migraines.

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