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4 Types Of Headaches That Often Come With Light Sensitivity

Updated: Jan 22

4 Types Of Headaches That Often Come With Light Sensitivity

Many people experience headaches from time to time. Oftentimes, an occasional headache is not a cause for concern. However, if your headache features other symptoms, especially those you have never experienced before, then it would be best for you to consult with a specialist for headaches. Among the concurrent symptoms you should watch out for is light sensitivity.

Also known as photophobia, light sensitivity is a symptom of another condition that causes one to be very sensitive to light. When you have photophobia, the sun or bright indoor lights can be extremely uncomfortable or even painful for you. Light sensitivity is one of the most common symptoms associated with various headache types. Read on to find out the major types of headaches that often come with photophobia.

1. Migraine

Migraines are a common headache disorder that impacts millions of individuals around the world and often features light sensitivity as a primary symptom. As a matter of fact, around 80% to 90% of individuals with migraines experience light-related discomfort during their migraine attacks. They frequently have to take adaptive measures to reduce or avoid their exposure to light, including putting on sunglasses and turning off the lights in a room.

According to experts, migraine and light sensitivity are linked on a physiological level.

The way a migraine sufferer's brain interprets light differs from how a normal person's brain interprets light. This is because sensory sensitivity results from the activation of certain parts of the brain during a migraine episode. Additionally, those who suffer from migraines typically have a lower tolerance for light, which is why bright lights might trigger a headache.

2. Tension Headache

Tension headaches are what most individuals consider a “normal headache,” specifically in the absence of a pre-existing disorder. Usually, a tension headache occurs as a result of spending an excessive amount of time on a device, not getting enough sleep, or having an unexpected increase in stress levels. The pain associated with a tension headache often feels like one’s brain is being squeezed, but it usually goes away within a couple of hours.

Like migraines, a tension headache can bring along various other symptoms, such as light sensitivity. Although there is still no definitive estimate as to how often photophobia occurs during tension headaches, research suggests that it may affect at least 25% of individuals during a headache episode. Nevertheless, compared to other headache types, light sensitivity often has less of an effect on tension headaches.

3. Cluster Headache

Cluster headaches are one of the most challenging types of headaches that might feature light sensitivity. This headache also arises in a cluster or series, varying in frequency from once every other day to as many as eight times each day, in addition to the severe pain that is frequently connected with this condition. Other key features are eye tearing, nasal stuffiness or sweating on one side of the face.

Despite the fact that photophobia is not a recognised symptom of cluster headaches, those who have been diagnosed with them may experience migraine-like side effects including sensory sensitivity. In essence, this indicates that light sensitivity can happen prior to, during, or following a cluster headache episode, and it has been found to occur in more than 50% of patients.

4. Ocular-Based Headache

There are many illnesses that can produce neurological and visual symptoms, but some of them start in the eyes and induce headaches with light sensitivity. For instance, up to 75% of people with dry eye syndrome have headaches and light sensitivity. This is due to a variety of factors that are weakening the pathways from the eye to the brain.

Like dry eye syndrome, glaucoma can also bring on headaches and light sensitivity. Both symptoms can be brought on by glaucoma, which raises pressure within and around the eye. Around 20% of glaucoma patients have photophobia as a result of this unfavourable brain impact. Despite the fact that glaucoma-related light sensitivity is typically experienced differently from other disorders, it still has a debilitating effect on people.


Light sensitivity is a common symptom of many kinds of headaches. Although sensitivity to light does not immediately indicate a serious danger, it can still be scary for the individual who endures the discomfort or pain. For this reason, it is important to determine what exactly causes one’s photophobia so that its intensity and frequency can be reduced or avoided altogether.

If you are currently experiencing headaches with light sensitivity on a regular basis, you should consider scheduling a consultation with Affinity Pain Clinic right away. We are a headache and neck pain specialist in Singapore that offers reliable, first-class treatments for a variety of pain conditions, such as headaches, neck pain, facial pain, neuropathic pain, tennis elbow, Golfer’s elbow, and more. For those suffering from a sports injury like a strain or sprain, we also provide excellent sport injury treatment in Singapore.

To learn more about our treatment solutions, please feel free to get in touch with us by filling out the contact form here.


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