Eyes Sensitive to Light and Watery? 5 Tips to Help You Cope

Ari Magill MD

Medically reviewed by:
Ari Magill, MD

Written by:

Eyes Sensitive to Light and Watery? 5 Tips to Help You Cope

There are a number of reasons why a person might have eyes sensitive to light and watery, even if it’s just in one eye. Computer fatigue is a very common reason, as are allergies, certain medications, illnesses, and neurological conditions. Light sensitivity is also one of the most common complaints of people who get migraines. It is one of the most common symptoms and can be debilitating.

If you are dealing with light sensitivity and watery eyes, chances are it is either something in your environment that is causing it, or something you are doing (such as sitting at a computer for too long). These tips provide strategies for coping with this troublesome issue and finding some ways to keep light sensitivity from keeping you stuck indoors all the time.

Use Precision-Tinted Glasses to Minimize Glare

If your eyes are sensitive to light and watery, you need to protect them and get a little relief, Light sensitivity glasses are made specifically for protecting the eyes from the glare that causes reactions. These are not typical sunglasses, they are made to minimize the effects of light on the eyes. While sunglasses may help to some extent by offering some shade from the light, precision tinted lenses more specifically address the condition of light sensitivity. They are also available as contacts for those who don’t want to wear glasses.

Use the 20 – 20 – 20 Rule

Extensive computer use can cause your eyes to be very dry and strained, leaving you with eyes sensitive to light and watery. The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) recommends the 20 – 20 – 20 rule to help combat eye strain and fatigue. Every 20 minutes that you are on your computer, stop and for 20 seconds look at something 20 feet away. This gives your eyes a break and helps to reduce eye strain. If you can, get up and move around a bit. Go for a walk, stand up and just move, or do something else. This helps keep you alert in addition to saving your eyes.

the 20 20 20 rule helps fight computer eye fatigue

Include More Dark Green Vegetables in Your Diet

Research shows that the carotenoids zeaxanthin and lutein, found in dark green vegetables like collards, kale, and spinach, can help minimize symptoms of light sensitivity. Incorporating these foods into your regular diet can even help prevent various eye diseases, including the age-related conditions, cataracts and macular degeneration. It can even help improve vision naturally.

bowl of spinach. leafy greens help with light sensitivity

Avoid Known Allergens

Allergies can do a lot more than make you sneeze and feel miserable. An allergy can also cause your eyes to be light sensitive and watery. Pollen is one of the most common culprits so if you are prone to seasonal allergies you want to watch the grass, plants, and trees. Depending on where you live, you could be fighting them a good portion of the year. Your best bet is to avoid the outdoors when the pollen in your area is high and when you do go out, wear wraparound sunglasses to provide some protection. Weather.com has an Allergy Tracker available under their Health menu. You can set alerts for your city or zip code to be delivered to your email address. That will help you stay ahead of high pollen days.

Choose Your Lighting Wisely

When you are indoors, you often have some control over your environment. Avoid fluorescent lights if you can, opting instead for track lighting, spot lamps, or desk lamps that have warm pink, white, or peach bulbs. These remove some of the glare and make light much more tolerable for people who are sensitive to it.

the type of lighting you use can affect your light sensitivity

Eyes Sensitive to Light and Watery? Time to Take Action!

Light sensitivity can make many of your favorite activities more difficult. When you have eyes sensitive to light and watery you may experience pain, blurred vision, and even headaches. By taking some steps to curb the problem and control the color, type, amount, and brightness of the light you are exposed to, you can make outdoor (and indoor) fun a little more tolerable. These are some pretty easy fixes for both home and office. Take charge of your light sensitivity – don’t let it take charge of you.

How do you handle your light sensitivity? Do you know what causes it?


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9 thoughts on “Eyes Sensitive to Light and Watery? 5 Tips to Help You Cope

  1. Brenda keep says:

    I had both eyes done for cateractsunami 4 years ago.light sensitivity since that had been very uncomfortable. I have had it checked but they found nothing. It was micro surgery as my pupils didnt dilate.drops have been putting in. .I remember clearly they panicked with. When operating saying water on the cornea water on the cornea .I feel something went wrong.x can you advise

  2. Mike says:

    I have a problem with very sensitive eyes in outdoor conditions. Also my eyes prefer to look down most of the time and it becomes very difficult to look up even under normal conditions. My eyes feel very strained when looking upwards. It feels like the problem has an effect on my whole facial and neck areas as it is almost pulling my neck muscles to look up and once I close my eyes it’s like I have to use force to open my eyes. It has an effect on my whole body and it feels like sometime it effects my breathing normally. I am from South Africa and the specialist I have seen is not able to find the problem. I need urgent advice .

  3. Francis says:

    Get checked by for optical “Myasthenia Gravis”
    A neurological disease that can weaken the eye muscles. It can be detected with a blood test.

  4. Mah says:

    My right eye has been very sensitive to light and been watery for the past 10 years , i never took it seriously but it’s been bothering me a lot lately since it feels so different from the other eye and it being watery makes it uncomfortable to work on computers and to use any makeup , is there any way to treat it at home please?

    • Lori Glover says:

      We have a lenient return policy so you can see if our lenses are effective for you. 90% of our customers report relief. Feel free to email [email protected] for more information about this policy and additional frame information.

  5. Afton Jackson says:

    Thank you for bringing up different kinds of dark green vegetables that can help with increasing vision and minimizing sensitivity. It’s been apparent to me that my teenage son has been having trouble looking at bright lights ever since I took him home from school and he said that the lights made his eyes hurt. This surprised me, as he doesn’t even use technological gadgets that much like other kids. I’ll make sure that I include these vegetables in his meals after taking him to an eye doctor to see if there are any underlying problems behind this.

  6. Nancy says:

    My eyes have been sensitive to light since 2006 and its on and off, it gets red and feels like there is sand on it. Every time I go to the hospital I get a batch of steroid drops like maxidex etc and as I sit here now, am typing with my left eye closed and lights turned off. please help me if there is a permanent solution. The eye hospital took some blood samples and it came back clear according to them. the pain is unbearable. please help.

    • Lori Glover says:

      All of our non prescription frames have a no hassle 60 day return policy so you can see if they are effective for you. Some customers feel immediate relief while others need 3-4 weeks to observe symptoms. A light sensitivity or migraine “toolbox” often includes many items to manage symptom frequency and severity. Feel free to email [email protected] for more information.

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