Natural Remedies for Photophobia – Acupuncture, Chinese Herbs, and Supplements

Light sensitivity, also known as photophobia, literally means ‘fear of light.’ Being in the bright indoor light or sunlight can cause pain; people might feel the urge to blink or close their eyes. Eye sensitivity to light is not a condition but rather a symptom of another problem.

Photophobia can affect people of all ages and usually affects both eyes equally. The causes of sensitivity to light can be numerous – from various eye diseases, through migraines and brain conditions, to the side effects of certain medications. Also, some mental health conditions can result in photophobia and different eye surgeries that fix vision problems.

The treatment of light sensitivity is linked to the underlying condition. Treatment of the main disease can help with the light sensitivity problem. This text will deal with the symptoms, causes, and most effective photophobia natural treatment, including acupuncture for photophobia, micro acupuncture 48, Chinese herbal therapy, and supplements.

Photophobia Treatment at Makari Wellness

Acupuncture ophthalmology has been an essential part of the Makari Wellness eye clinic for more than 15 years. We successfully treat many eye diseases, including dry eyes, glaucoma, cataract, retinal detachment, retinitis pigmentosa, Stargardt’s disease, and many others.

Extreme light sensitivity will not go on its own. We offer customized treatment for each individual, and our main goal is to help people gain freedom from illness. Let us be your first choice for a natural solution to photophobia.

Makari Wellness

Does acupuncture help light sensitivity? According to our results, yes. 85% of our patients experienced some vision improvement. Do not wait until your condition worsens; call us at (888) 871-8889 and book an appointment at our Oceanside and San Diego clinics. If you are far from our clinics, we have a solution – telemedicine consultations. Although acupuncture cannot be performed virtually, Mike can prescribe custom Chinese herbal medicine for photophobia and help you improve your overall health.

What is Photophobia?

Photophobia is eye discomfort in bright natural or artificial light. It is a fairly common problem that is not due to any disease. People with lighter eye color may experience more light sensitivity in bright sunlight because they do not have enough pigment to protect them against harsh sunlight.

However, light sensitivity may accompany various eye, brain, mental diseases and side effects of some medications. If you experience severe eye pain in the bright light, get medical help right away to identify and treat the cause of photophobia.

What Causes Photophobia?

Causes of light sensitivity can be different because many illnesses can trigger photophobia. Some of them include:

Eye Problems

  • Cataract
  • Aniridia
  • Uveitis
  • Dry eye syndrome
  • Optic neuritis
  • Eye allergies
  • Iritis
  • Keratitis
  • Corneal abrasion
  • Keratoconus
  • Scleritis
  • Glaucoma
  • Blepharospasm
  • Retinal detachment
  • Nystagmus
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Macular degeneration.

Brain Conditions

  • Migraines
  • Serious brain injury
  • Concussion
  • Meningitis
  • Encephalitis
  • Pituitary gland tumors
  • Supranuclear palsy
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Mental Health Conditions

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Agoraphobia
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Panic disorder


  • Some antibiotics (like tetracycline)
  • Furosemide
  • Quinine
  • Amphetamines
  • Atropine
  • Cocaine
  • Cyclopentolate
  • Methotrexate
  • Naproxen
  • Methylphenidate
  • Haloperidol

All these light sensitivity causes are serious; you should seek medical attention immediately as soon as you experience photophobia. Also, photophobia can be present in the recovery period from eye surgery and when you excessively wear contact lenses that are poorly fitting.

Light Sensitivity Symptoms

The main light sensitivity symptom is a sense that regular lighting appears excessively bright. Some people may experience seeing bright colored spots, even in the dark, pain or discomfort when looking at the light, squinting one or both eyes, tears from the eyes, and a sense that your eyes are excessively dry.

How to Treat Photophobia?

The best treatment for photophobia is to address the underlying disease. Once you treat the triggering factor, photophobia usually disappears in most cases.

If you take medications that cause sensitivity to light, talk to your health practitioner to stop taking the drug or replace it with some other similar medicine.

If you are naturally sensitive to light, relieving your symptoms is another aspect. You may want to try several things to maintain comfort while your condition is resolving.

  • Wear sunglasses with UV protection when you are outside.
  • Tinted glasses may be helpful.
  • Decrease the light exposure as much as you can.
  • Use eye drops for comfort.
  • After discussing with your health care provider, try over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) to treat migraine headaches.
  • Check your prescription glasses or contact lenses.
  • Get rid of fluorescent lighting and LED light bulbs, focus on small doses of indirect natural lighting.

If you suffer from migraines, be prepared to experience them from time to time. Ensure that you have a hat, sunglasses, and comfortable lighting to ease the photophobia as much as possible.

Alternative Treatment of Light Sensitivity

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a broad range of medicine practices developed in China more than 2,000 years ago. All these practices share a common concept of the body’s vital energy called Qi that circulates through channels called meridians. Meridians have branches that are connected to bodily organs and functions. Another concept is Yinyangism, which represents two abstract and complementary aspects that every phenomenon in the universe can be divided into. Yin and Yang are symbols of balance.

When the Qi is out the balance, disease occurs. So, by manipulating the flow of Qi, we can achieve balance and free the body of the illness. The primary modality convenient for treating photophobia is acupuncture.

Acupuncture for Light Sensitivity

Acupuncture is a procedure of inserting fine, thin needles into the specific acupoints through the body’s meridians. Some of the most useful acupuncture points for photophobia include:

  • Chengqi lies directly below the pupil on the infraorbital ridge bone.
  • Jingming is the point where the inner corner of the eye meets the nose.
  • Tongziliaois located on the outer end of the eyebrows.
  • Zanzhu is located in the crease at the inner ends of the eyebrows.
  • Yuyao can be found in the middle of the eyebrow in the hollow.

Micro Acupuncture 48 is a fairly new acupuncture system that involves 48 acupuncture points that are located only on hands and feet. It is generally not associated with any other acupuncture system but successfully treats many eye problems, including light sensitivity. The number of treatments a patient needs depends on how well the individual responds to treatment and other co-existing health issues.

Electro Acupuncture is another yet modern variation of acupuncture. It uses electricity to enhance the positive results of traditional acupuncture treatment – it can cover larger areas of the body than conventional acupuncture and activate your acupoints more quickly, so the treatments are shorter. It helps your body release endorphins, which can help in reducing pain in your eyes associated with photophobia.

Chinese Herbal Therapy for Light Sensitivity

Chinese herbs are classified in terms of taste and temperature, with more than 300 herbs used to address certain conditions and symptoms. A certified Chinese herbalist will make you the right mix of herbs with specific therapeutic properties to create the right formula for your condition.

Herbs can be consumed in the form of teas, extracts, fresh, dried herbs, capsules, tinctures, tablets, or powders. What is important, herbs do not focus only on the core problem. They strengthen the overall immune system, making the patient more resistant to diseases and external influences that may take the Qi out of balance and impact the onset of different conditions. Depending on the underlying disease, some of the most common herbs used for treating light sensitivity are:

  • Chrysanthemum flower: Successfully treats eye redness and dry eyes.
  • Ginkgo Biloba: Reduces the risk of glaucoma.
  • Turmeric root: Helps reduce oxidation in the eye lens.
  • Buddleia flower: Treats uveitis, dry eyes, and cataracts, so it improves light sensitivity.
  • Elderberry: It will get you a lasting vision by preventing glaucoma and macular degeneration.
  • Eyebright: Helps soothe itchy eyes and conjunctivitis.
  • Saffron: Used in treating cataracts.
  • Green tea: Rich in antioxidants.
  • Coleus: Contains Forskolin, a substance that lowers high blood and high intraocular pressure.

Chinese Nutrition and Lifestyle

According to TCM, food has similar properties to Chinese herbs. Having a well-balanced diet is beneficial for your overall health and longevity – the aim is to balance Yin and Yang. You can, of course, get help from a certified nutritionist to provide you with personalized meal plans, as we know that some food may trigger migraine headaches and light sensitivity.

Fatty fish like herring, tuna, salmon, and mackerel are rich in Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, proven beneficial for eye health. Vegans can use flaxseeds and walnuts.

Lutein can be found in eggs and leafy green vegetables. It lowers the risk of developing cataracts as a complication of uveitis.

Adzuki beans are rich in proteins, iron, calcium, and vitamin B – they improve eye circulation.

High amounts of vitamin A and rhodopsin are found in beef liver. These substances prevent eye dryness.