Comprehensive eye care looks after two of our most precious organs: our eyes. We are especially cautious of anything that may jeopardize our vision, and we are constantly on the lookout for behaviors that can negatively affect our vision. So much so that we will take a potpourri of eye facts and myths (watching tv, eating carrots) and treat them as equally valid. But here’s one eye care tidbit that you may not be familiar with: artificial sweeteners can make your eyes more sensitive to light.
What is Light Sensitivity (Photophobia)?
It’s normal to experience a little irritation if someone opens the shades right after you wake up or if you step outside while you’re battling a bad hangover. But there are some people who experience regular and persistent sensitivity to light. This is known as photophobia. Anything from natural light like sunlight to artificial light from sources like incandescent light bulbs can cause discomfort and headaches. People often react to this sensitivity by shutting their eyes to the source.
Fortunately, photophobia is not considered an eye disease. Instead, light sensitivity can be due to a number of factors including infection or other underlying health issues that have nothing to do with the eyes. Those with a lighter eye color are also more susceptible to light sensitivity. Other possible causes of light sensitivity include irritation from contact lenses, a detached retina, or refractive surgery. These are the kinds of things that can be investigated by talking to your optometrist or ophthalmologist during a comprehensive eye care exam.
There May Be Another Cause of Photophobia
It turns out that using artificial sweeteners can make your eyes more sensitive to light. This potential discomfort to people’s eyes can make the possible weight loss benefits of artificial sweeteners more trouble than they’re worth. In addition to the tiny packets you can use for your coffee instead of sugar, they are found in numerous diet products and low-calorie food items.
Of course, this discovery that artificial sweeteners can lead to light sensitivity is just one item on a growing list of the negative side effects of these sugar substitutes. Though many of them have been approved and tested by the FDA – like the enormously popular aspartame – there are critics who blame the sweet fix for things like brain tumors and chronic fatigue, but experts say that there is not enough evidence to back up claims like this.
When it comes to your eyes, however, artificial sweeteners such as cyclamates can cause light sensitivity. If you have started experiencing light sensitivity and you just recently added artificial sweeteners to your diet, cutting them out may be a good way to determine if they are the cause through the process of elimination.
An Eye Care Specialist Is Your Best Source of Information
The best thing to do whenever you notice any changes with your eyes is to see your eye doctor for a comprehensive eye care exam. Eye care specialists are the professionals best equipped to help guide you through your eye care, and sift fact from fiction when it comes to your comprehensive eye care.
Give your eyes the attention they deserve and book a comprehensive eye care exam with one of our specialists at All Saints. Our patient and dedicated comprehensive eye care professionals will sit down with you to determine what is causing your discomfort or any possible vision problems. We have offices in Fort Myers and Naples, so give us a call to book an appointment. We look forward to seeing you.