login Register

Night Blindness

Night blindness or nyctalopia is a kind of vision impairment at night or in poor light. Night blindness (nyctalopia) is your inability to see well at night or in poor light such as in a restaurant or movie theater. It is associated with the inability to adapt quickly from well-illuminated to poorly illuminated environment. It is a symptom of an underlying eye problem which is usually your retina. It is quite common for people who are myopic and have some difficulties with night vision. This does not occur due to retinal disease but optical problems.

What happens to your eye in low or no light?

Your eyes adjust constantly to light. When there is low or no light, the pupils will become bigger so more light will enter your eye. The light will then be received by your retina – the tissue at the back of eye that houses all cone and rod cells. While the cone cells help to see colour, the rod cells help you see in the dark. When those rods do not work properly due to some disease, condition or injury, you cannot see well or at all in the dark.

How will you know whether you have night blindness?

Signs of night blindness include – abnormal difficulty for adjusting in the dark when you drive during night time or blurred vision at the time of driving. You will also find it difficult to see clearly in dimly lit places like your home or a movie theater.

Causes of night blindness

  • Myopia or nearsightedness
  • Retinitis pigmentosa
  • Diabetes
  • Cataracts
  • Glaucoma medications which work by constructing the pupil
  • Usher syndrome, a genetic condition affecting hearing and vision
  • Vitamin A deficiency in individuals who have performed intestinal bypass surgery

Symptoms of night blindness

  • Strain to your eyes
  • Headaches
  • Squinting
  • Children who have myopia
  • Eye tiredness
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • cloudy or blurred vision
  • light sensitivity
  • difficulty in seeing at a distance

How to prevent night blindness

It is not possible to prevent night blindness when this occurs due to birth defects or genetic conditions like Usher syndrome. But you will be able to assess your blood sugar levels and eat a well-balanced diet to reduce the chances of night blindness. Try to eat foods which are rich in vitamins, antioxidants and minerals and avoid cataracts. Also, select foods that have greater levels of Vitamin A to lessen the risk of night blindness.

Certain orange-colored foods are considered to be good sources of Vitamin A. Some of these include the following:

  • mangoes
  • carrots
  • butternut squash
  • cantaloupes
  • pumpkins
  • sweet potatoes

Vitamin A is also present in these food items:

  • milk
  • eggs
  • collard greens
  • spinach

How can you treat night blindness in a natural way?

Certain foods rich in Vitamin A include – dark green leafy vegetables, dairy products, carrots, fish, potatoes, broccoli and squash. You should start the habit of doing eye exercises in the morning, before going to bed and any time when your eyes are really tired. This is a great way to improve your vision and strengthen eye muscles.

Can night blindness go away?

Night blindness which occurs from nearsightedness, deficiency of Vitamin A, refractive surgery, and cataracts cannot be treated. So, you will have to return back to normal levels of eyesight in dim or low light. There are some other causes which include genetic disorders and progressive conditions which are manageable. However, the condition will not go away completely.

How severe is night blindness?

Though night blindness adversely affects the ability of a person to see in dim light, it may not lead to complete blindness. It can cause some problems such as seeing road signs when you drive during the night. It may even take much longer than usual for your eyes to adjust properly when going from light to dark settings.

Is it possible for anxiety cause night blindness?

When you experience too much anxiety and stress frequently, the cortisol levels of your body may lead to optic neuropathy and glaucoma causing blindness. Since human bodies are quite completed, it makes it difficult to know the cause of a symptom which includes sudden blurred vision.

Can people who have night blindness drive properly?

The main problem with poor night vision is your difficulty to drive properly during night time. This is because the driver’s ability to react in a sensible way depends on how properly they can see. Your normal eyesight I always limited at night time and so, having night blindness may increase the possible chances of an accident.

How can you test for night blindness?

The test for night blindness is an easy method in which the eye surgeon puts eye drops for dilation and then examines the condition of your eyes with Slit Lamp. Then, he will conduct some tests that will help to detect key identifiers of night blindness.

Can night blindness become worse with age?

The bad news is that night vision may deteriorate with age. Though there are several conditions which can worsen your ability to see properly at night including too much sunlight and smoking, there are other things you can do at the daytime to improve your vision at night.

Who are prone to night blindness?

People who have the deficiency of Vitamin A usually suffer with night blindness. Vitamin A is essential for better health of your eyes and has a key role in transforming nerve impulses into images in your retina.

Is it possible to restore your night vision?

Night blindness can happen from nearsightedness, cataracts or vitamin A deficiency. But it is possible to treat this condition. Corrective lenses, such as contact lenses or eye glasses can improve your nearsighted vision both during the day and at night. You need to inform your eye surgeon when you find it difficult to see in dim light even by wearing your corrective lenses.

When you need to visit your eye care surgeon?

When you find it difficult to see clearly while driving during night time or cannot see at all, chances are you have night blindness. It is advisable that you visit your eye care surgeon right away as night blindness may be a symptom of serious concern.