from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An abnormal sensitivity to or intolerance of light, especially by the eyes, as may be caused by eye inflammation, lack of pigmentation in the iris, or various diseases.
  • n. An abnormal or irrational fear of light.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Symptom of excessive sensitivity to light and the aversion to bright light.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A dread or intolerance of light.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. An intolerance or dread of light.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. pain in the eye resulting from exposure to bright light (often associated with albinism)
  • n. a morbid fear of light


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • So you know, when a patient has this sort of symptoms which are sometimes stiff neck, they may have headache, they may have what is known as photophobia, which is aversion to lights.

    CNN Transcript Apr 2, 2008

  • For example, if you're having a migraine headache, light can actually cause dramatic increase in pain, it's actually something known as photophobia, where people actually become fearful of light.

    CNN Transcript Jan 4, 2008

  • Sensitivity to light is called photophobia, that can be very significant.

    CNN Transcript Apr 4, 2007

  • It is worse when the nausea, photophobia, extreme sensitivity to sound and smells comes into play.

    Chocolate & Vicodin

  • “A seventy-six-year-old Hispanic male, status post-MI times two, with a history of poorly controlled hypertension and medical noncompliance presenting with new onset occipital headaches and photophobia.”


  • You get pain and swelling around the eye, as well as photophobia, fever and headache.

    Enterovirus 70

  • Short-term exposure to UV can lead to photophobia – visual discomfort and sensitivity to bright light or photokeratitis, a sunburn-like condition that can last 48 hours or so.

    Archive 2008-08-01

  • The movie is about Santiago, or Santi, a teenage boy that suffers from photophobia; an affliction which causes him great discomfort if he gets into direct sunlight.

    Shiver (2008)

  • For example, people have a migraine headache they often develop photophobia, which literally means that they become frightened of the light.

    CNN Transcript Jan 4, 2008

  • It can make your symptoms much, much worse -- called photophobia.

    CNN Transcript Jan 4, 2008


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  • Yes, this was actually the morning after the sinking, before the sharks found them.

    November 15, 2008

  • And that was before the sharks started gnawing at them.

    November 15, 2008

  • "The brilliance of reflected light on the layer of fuel oil was bringing about photophobia so intense in some cases that the victims were totally blind. Even with their lids shut tight the pain was intense, almost as if their eyeballs had been seared with fire."

    —Thomas Helm, Ordeal by Sea: The Tragedy of the U.S.S. Indianapolis, 1963 (New York: Signet, 2001), 117

    November 14, 2008