Are you Photophobic?

The condition of Photophobia is a sensitivity to light. People who believe they are Photophobic tend to suffer from a range of conditions including headaches, dizziness, nausea, and migraines. I’m not a great fan of self-diagnosis, so before you spend any money speak to a professional first.

What commonly happens is sufferers look for extra dark sunglasses trying to create the same effect as a darkened room. That will help to treat the symptom, BUT is it the cause? I want to examine both the glasses (how to find true extra dark sunglasses) and secondly the cause, could it be you suffer from a condition called PPD (perceptual processing disorder)

The glasses… The phrase extra dark sunglasses is purely subjective. What one person considers to be extra dark, to someone else, they might just be normal sunglasses that look dark. So what is “extra dark” and just how dark are we talking. That’s where the science comes in. The amount of light that passes through a lens is broken down into 5 categories. The categories range from Cat 0 to Cat 4 a “0” lens is all but clear and allows the maximum amount of light to pass through. If you want to know more about lens categories you can read another article I have written on the subject HERE. We are interested in the categories that stop lots of light and we will start with Cat 3 that’s the category of a normal pair of sunglasses allowing stopping 80% of light to pass through the lens, 20% LVT. So when I refer to a lens that is extra dark, I am talking about a category 4 lens a lens that stops 95% of light (5% LVT) If the seller is genuinely selling “extra dark lenses” they will be quoting Cat 4 and around 5 to 8% LVT. If they are not, chances are you are buying normal sunglasses and that’s not going to help very much. I have provided a link to a frame that I have specially designed that meets Cat4 and 5% LVT, you can use it to compare other frames against.

The cause… Many people think they are sensitive to light when actually, colour can be the culprit. By removing certain colours from the colour spectrum some people have found that to be more effective than the dark lens. Much research has been done on the subject back in the 90s by Birmingham University. They came up with a filter that was given the code name FL-41. The filter mainly works on blues and greens and under test they where getting figures as high as 85% of people who saw a benefit.