I am a
Home I AM A Search Login

Papers of the Week

Papers: 15 May 2021 - 21 May 2021

Human Studies


2021 May 14


Photophobia in migraine: A symptom cluster?


Wilkins AJ, Haigh SM, Mahroo OA, Plant GT
Cephalalgia. 2021 May 14:3331024211014633.
PMID: 33990148.


Photophobia is one of the most common symptoms in migraine, and the underlying mechanism is uncertain. The discovery of the intrinsically-photosensitive retinal ganglion cells which signal the intensity of light on the retina has led to discussion of their role in the pathogenesis of photophobia. In the current review, we discuss the relationship between pain and discomfort leading to light aversion (traditional photophobia) and discomfort from flicker, patterns, and colour that are also common in migraine and cannot be explained solely by the activity of intrinsically-photosensitive retinal ganglion cells. We argue that, at least in migraine, a cortical mechanism provides a parsimonious explanation for discomfort from all forms of visual stimulation, and that the traditional definition of photophobia as pain in response to light may be too restrictive. Future investigation that directly compares the retinal and cortical contributions to photophobia in migraine with that in other conditions may offer better specificity in identifying biomarkers and possible mechanisms to target for treatment.