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Why are some people more sensitive to glare?

Some people don't seem to be bothered by the brightness of sunlight, while others almost can't go outside without having sunglasses on.

The feeling we call glare is caused by light scattered inside the eye.  When light from an object gets scattered, it lands on a bigger area of the back of the eye than it ought to.  This gives the over-bright feeling.  Sudden, painful glare sensitivity can sometimes be due to serious eye problems - such as acute glaucoma, or inflammation inside the eye.  This should be checked out straight away.  People with cataracts

often notice their eyes becoming more sensitive to glare over time.  More serious conditions aside, why are there differences in glare sensitivity amongst people who otherwise have healthy eyes?

A number of factors can contribute to greater glare sensitivity.  They are:

  • Pale coloured irises
  • Large sized pupils
  • Dry eyes/ poor quality tears
  • Floaters
  • Small amounts of haze in the lens of the eye
  • Deposits on contact lenses
  • Dirty glasses
  • Hormonal changes
  • Some medications and medical conditions