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Not to be confused with photosensitive epilepsy or photophobia.

Photosensitivity is the amount to which an object reacts upon receiving photons,
especially visible light. In medicine, the term is principally used for abnormal reactions of the
skin, and two types are distinguished, photoallergy andphototoxicity.[1][2] The photosensitive
ganglion cells in the mammalian eye are a separate class of light-detecting cells from
the photoreceptor cells that function in vision.

1 Skin reactions
o 1.1 Human medicine
o 1.2 Veterinary medicine

2 Electronics

3 Interpretation in chemistry

4 See also

5 External links

6 Notes

Skin reactions[edit]
Human medicine[edit]
Main article: Photosensitivity in humans
See also: phototoxicity
Sensitivity of the skin to a light source can take various forms. People with particular skin types
are more sensitive tosunburn. Particular medications make the skin more sensitive to sunlight;
these include most of the tetracycline antibiotics, heart drugs amiodarone, and sulfonamides.
Particular conditions lead to increased light sensitivity. Patients with systemic lupus
erythematosus experience skin symptoms after sunlight exposure; some types of porphyria are

aggravated by sunlight. A rare hereditary condition xeroderma pigmentosum (a defect in DNA

repair) is thought to increase the risk of UV-light-exposure-related cancer by increasing
Veterinary medicine[edit]
Main article: Photosensitivity in animals
Photosensitivity occurs in multiple species including sheep, bovine, and horses.
Photosensitizations are classified as primary if an ingested plant contains a photosensitive
substance, like hypericin in St John's wort poisoning in sheep, or buckwheat plants (green or
dried) in horses.[3]
In hepatogenous photosensitization, the photosensitzing substance is phylloerythrin, a normal
end-product ofchlorophyll metabolism. [4] It accumulates in the body because of liver damage,
reacts with UV light on the skin, and leads to free radical formation. These free radicals damage
the skin, leading to ulceration, necrosis, and sloughing. Non-pigmented skin is most commonly
Main article: Photodetector
Certain electronic devices, such as photodiodes and charge-coupled devices, are designed to be
sensitive to light. They are constructed to take advantage of the photoelectric effect, the emission
of electrons from matter upon the absorption ofelectromagnetic radiation. When light (one form
of electromagnetic radiation) impinges on the active surface of such a device, electric
current flowing through or electrical charge stored in the device will increase or decrease in
proportion to the intensity and wavelength of the light, although there is an upper limit to the
amount of electrons released vs the increased intensity of the light, this comes out of quantum
mechanics. This trait allows the device to perform regulating and sensing functions of many
kinds. For example, a photoresistor circuit may sense ambient light to turn on a street lamp at
dusk.Digital cameras use an array of photodiodes whose extreme sensitivity to light allows them
to convert incoming photons into varying electrical charges with great accuracy. The varying
charges are then encoded in a binary file which can be stored and later viewed on a computer
screen or other medium.
Interpretation in chemistry[edit]
Chemicals that are photosensitive may undergo chemical reactions when exposed to light. These
chemicals, such ashydrogen peroxide and many prescription drugs, are stored in tinted or opaque
containers until they are needed to prevent photodegradation. Devices that are photosensitive

include the human retina and photographic film (see film speed andsensitometry); their
photosensitive materials undergo a chemical reaction when struck by light.
Typical substances that are photosensitive are alkali salts and silver halides.
See also[edit]



Solar urticaria

Snow blindness

External links[edit]

FDA article - Chemical Photosensitivity: Another Reason to Be Careful in the Sun

Toxic, Phototoxic and Sensitizing Essential Oils

Sensor sensitivity (ISO) in digital cameras

How to avoid overxposure to sunlight for the photosensitive

1. Jump up^ Anderson, D.M.; Keith, J.; Novac, P.; Elliott, M.A., ed.
(1994). Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary, 28th Edition. translated by. W.
B. Saunders Company. ISBN 0721655777.
2. Jump up^ JH Epstein (1999). "Phototoxicity and photoallergy". Seminars in
cutaneous medicine and surgery 18 (4): 274284.PMID 10604793.
3. Jump up^ Understanding Horse Nutrition.Com on buckwheat
4. Jump up^ D.C. Blood, J.A. Henderson, O.M. Radostits (1979). Veterinary
Medicine (5th ed.). London: Baillire Tindall. pp. 841847 (Lactation
Tetany). ISBN 0-7020-0718-8.