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May 1966

Binocular Facilitation of Discomfort With High Luminances

Author Affiliations

Baltimore; Portland, Ore
From the Laboratory of Neurophysiology, Good Samaritan Hospital, Portland, Ore. Dr. Wirtschafter is presently Assistant Resident at the Wilmer Ophthalmologic Institute, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore.

Arch Ophthalmol. 1966;75(5):683-688. doi:10.1001/archopht.1966.00970050685020

It is well known that in normal humans exposure to intense illumination is often accompanied by discomfort and pain. From a neurophysiological point of view, little is known about what makes light uncomfortable or too bright. The afferent nerves proposed as contributing to the response include the special sensory (the optic nerve), the general somatic (the trigeminal nerve), and the general visceral (the vidian nerve). A number of mechanisms have been suggested by which these nerves might cause pain.1-5 In clinical terminology, the uncomfortable response produced by light striking either a normal or pathologic retina when the anterior segment is normal has been called false photophobia, since mechanical irritation of the retina or stimulation of the optic nerve in humans does not produce pain.1,6 True photophobia is said to occur when there is some irritation of the cornea or other anterior segment structures which potentiates the aversive response