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It’s Lights Out For You: Light Sensitivity and Psoriasis

It’s very hard for me to forget that somber year in 1963. That’s when my lights went out. If you turned on a light I would just scream in agony. My parents didn’t have a clue of what was going on. To describe it simply, the lights would drive me crazy. I would itch, itch and itch like crazy. This would be the beginning of what would be known to me as psoriasis. Oh yes, everything has an origin; a beginning. This was mine.

Early warning signs of psoriasis

The room I was sleeping in as a child had to be dark. I recall wanting the shades pulled down. I didn’t want the sight of any light. It’s so funny because I remember it like yesterday. My sisters thought I was crazy. I was screaming at the top of my lungs; “turn off the light!!!

I was taken to a doctor with this stuff all over my body. The doctors were baffled at that time. They told my parents to have me wear dark glasses. Really!? On my first day of school this was when the school said I needed to see a dermatologist. I was diagnosed with psoriasis.

I couldn’t even pronounce the word. (My father is 83 now and still can’t say it.) When I look back over the signs and symptoms of these diseases we have; do we really pay attention to the early warning signs? I did because I put two and two together and knew that there had to be a legitimate reason that light irritated my skin. Now that I’m so much older I now realize that psoriasis is not only a skin disease but an autoimmune disease as well. It makes good sense that the ultras of the natural light would affect me.

Left in the dark…

It would be months that my world would be dark. I would take the covers and wrap them around me so that everything would be black. It eased the symptoms, which were excessive burning and itching. My parents had to cover the windows so that light couldn’t peek in. I felt bad that my sisters had to be in the dark, but for me, it was necessary to avoid any light. They would sometimes turn the lights on, not to be mean, but because they didn’t understand my disease.

Can you recall before you got diagnosed the warning signs or beginning signs? Did you think it had anything to do with your current illness? Did it make sense? These are a few questions that I often think about 55 years later.

My origin of being diagnosed with psoriasis was very traumatic. I was a little girl with no comprehension of what was going on with my body. I knew it was not normal and neither was I. I think sometimes how did this affect my sisters? Did this traumatize them? What emotions were going through their head growing up in a house with a sibling that had psoriasis? I went to the source.

My sibling’s point of view

My sister’s documentation of how it was- “I was afraid for you and not knowing what you had. You were always screaming. I was sad to see you go through the bleeding, itching and dealing with light and your skin hurting. I couldn’t express my emotions as being a younger sister, but it was almost like I felt it was a punishment… because maybe we were bad and I was waiting to get it next. I came to realize that we were as much in the dark as you were.”

As an adult, my sisters tell me how much they admired me. They saw my bravery, courage, strength, and determination. The question that remains is – when did your psoriasis originate?

No more are the lights off in my life, they are on and I’m no longer in the dark; welcome to the sunlight in my world.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The PlaquePsoriasis.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • Swathi
    4 months ago

    Ok will keep you updated. Did you have any aches in legs as a kid not in joints. He has mild ache after a stressful day in his legs not in joints. It was diagnosed as growing pains as they were happening only at nights. I think each person is different w.r.t psoriasis. My only worry is this light sensitivity. If he grows out of it I can’t ask for more

  • DianeT author
    4 months ago

    I didn’t start getting any aches and pains until I turned 25. I would keep an eye on him, if the light keeps bothering him; go to other doctors. I did grow out of mind; I can’t remember what age it was,

    Thank you,

    Diane

  • Swathi
    3 months ago

    Hi Diane

    His Light sensitivity didn’t improve. He has itching and little tearing rarely. All checks are coming back negative for uveitis. Tear gels and antibiotic drops didn’t help much. It is off and on. When he itches it looks like his eye socket is mild swollen. All doctors dismissed saying that it is due to itching. I am not understanding whats my next step. Do you have any suggestions for this worried mom? Which doctor I have to take him?

    Note that psoriasis in his ears which was there from 4 years is not there now to show to this doctors. He has only mild flaking in his eyebrows.

    This disease really sucks.

    Regards
    Swathi

  • Swathi
    5 months ago

    Thanks Diane for responding. My eye doctor checked him and said he is fine just mild dry eyes. Was not convinced took him to rheumatologist same answer. They are saying I can’t link both. May be they have never heard of it. By the way to introduce my family history my husband has mild psoriasis from birth. He is extremely healthy, it doesn’t bother him. My elder son is 9 years touchwood no symptoms. Small one very mild psoriasis from birth. But offlate he has stomach pains and photophobia in morning. Don’t know where I will end up. Extremely worried mom here

  • Swathi
    5 months ago

    I have a 4 year old son who has mild psoriasis hardly in ears. From past few days he is screaming when we on the lights in the morning or in mid night.
    After 10 mins he is fine. How did your problem resolve? Is your eyesight fine now. It would be helpful if you can respond to this worried mom.

  • DianeT author
    5 months ago

    Hello Swathi,

    This is so interesting. I went though the same thing. It was a many years ago, but I can remember it like it was yesterday with the screaming when the lights came on. I do remember the doctor telling my parents to have me wear sunglasses. I’m not sure if this helps or not. Please see a doctor to see why this is happening to him. I would love to know the answer. I was 5 when this happen to me. Thanks for sharing this; I haven’t heard anyone speak of this before.

    Thank you,

    Diane

  • Swathi
    4 months ago

    Ok will keep you updated. Did you have any aches in legs as a kid not in joints. He has mild ache after a stressful day in his legs not in joints. It was diagnosed as growing pains as they were happening only at nights. I think each person is different w.r.t psoriasis. My only worry is this light sensitivity. If he grows out of it I can’t ask for more

  • DianeT author
    5 months ago

    Hello Swathi,

    Maybe there is no link, but it’s interesting that he screams when the lights come on. I went though the same thing. I’m happy the doctors didn’t find anything. No one in my family has psoriasis but me. I have 2 grown kids and 6 grandkids and none of them got it either. I would keep and eye on him and if you see something that is not right, than I would take him to see the doctor. I hope he grows out of this and only have a mild case. Stay in touch.

    Take care,

    Diane

  • Swathi
    5 months ago

    Thanks Diane for responding. My eye doctor checked him and said he is fine just mild dry eyes. Was not convinced took him to rheumatologist same answer. They are saying I can’t link both. May be they have never heard of it. By the way to introduce my family history my husband has mild psoriasis from birth. He is extremely healthy, it doesn’t bother him. My elder son is 9 years touchwood no symptoms. Small one very mild psoriasis from birth. But offlate he has stomach pains and photophobia in morning. Don’t know where I will end up. Extremely worried mom here

  • PallaveeTrehan
    5 months ago

    I know it must be so difficult to see your little one in pain. Have you spoken to your son’s primary care physician about this symptom? A specialist may be able to provide more information and relieve your worries. I wanted to share this article that has more information on symptoms of psoriasis in children: https://plaquepsoriasis.com/psoriasis-affect-health/baby-children-teens-age/. I hope you find this article helpful. Please keep us posted!

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