• Night Blindness: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Night Blindness: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Per­haps you have found your­self strug­gling to see as well as you used to when dri­ving at night or even just around your house ear­ly in the dark or dim light hours. Maybe you’ve noticed that your eyes do not adjust quite as they used to when you would go from a bright­ly lit place (like out­side) to a place of poor light­ing (like a restau­rant).

You may have heard a term thrown around called “night blind­ness”, but that’s not entire­ly cor­rect. While night blind­ness refers to not being able to see at all in the dark or dim­ly lit places, the cor­rect med­ical term is nyc­talop­ia. Peo­ple who suf­fer from this type of vision impair­ment, expe­ri­ence dif­fi­cul­ty see­ing or dri­ving in dark­ness.

There are dif­fer­ent types of night blind­ness, and depend­ing on what caus­es night blind­ness for each per­son, dic­tates whether it is treat­able or not. Night blind­ness treat­ment will be dis­cussed below, as well what is night blind­ness exact­ly, and its caus­es.

Night Blindness Symptoms and Treatments

The main night blind­ness symp­tom is, obvi­ous­ly, dif­fi­cul­ty see­ing in the dark, but dif­fer­ent degrees of sever­i­ty can be seen when tran­si­tion­ing from places of dif­fer­ent bright­ness or while dri­ving, due to the inter­mit­tent head­lights, street­lights or road signs.

All night blind­ness symp­toms are relat­ed to poor light­ing sit­u­a­tions. There are sev­er­al caus­es that can be attrib­uted to night blind­ness includ­ing:

  • Nearsightedness (Myopia)

This is a refrac­tive error where there is too much cur­va­ture in a person’s cornea or lens to allow light to focus prop­er­ly on the reti­na. Objects that are clos­er in dis­tance, appear clear­er than ones fur­ther away. Near­sight­ed­ness can be fixed with con­tact lens­es, glass­es, or refrac­tive surgery.

  • Cataracts

This med­ical con­di­tion results in the lens of the eye pro­gres­sive­ly becom­ing more opaque, typ­i­cal­ly with age, which results in blurred or cloudy vision.

  • Retinitis Pigmentosa

This con­di­tion is often labeled “tun­nel vision” because dark pig­ment col­lects in the reti­na, which gives the vision of being in a tun­nel.

  • Usher syndrome

This con­di­tion affects both hear­ing and vision, and the most com­mon symp­tom of the vision is retini­tis pig­men­tosa.

  • Glaucoma and Glaucoma medicine

Glau­co­ma is a dis­ease of the optic nerve that can lead to poor vision and even blind­ness. Glau­co­ma med­i­cine has a side effect that nar­rows the pupils, which lim­its the amount of light that can enter the eye, espe­cial­ly in low light sit­u­a­tions.

symptoms of night blindness

  • Low Vitamin A

While rare to occur in the Unit­ed States, nutri­tion­al defi­cien­cies can lead to a vari­ety of vision and health prob­lems. Vit­a­min A is cru­cial for the prop­er func­tion of the rods (spe­cial­ized cells in our eyes that help us see light).

There are a vari­ety of treat­ment options avail­able and depend­ing on what the under­ly­ing cause is, the options can include:

  • New glass­es pre­scrip­tion to account for the degree of near­sight­ed­ness
  • Increased intake of vit­a­min A sup­ple­men­ta­tion, to help improve the func­tion­ing of the rods, and to help coun­ter­act retini­tis pig­men­tosa.
  • Surgery for cataracts
  • Chang­ing glau­co­ma med­i­cines

What­ev­er the case may be for the night blind­ness, dif­fi­cul­ty see­ing in dim envi­ron­ments can be frus­trat­ing and even dan­ger­ous, espe­cial­ly for the old­er pop­u­la­tion. If you strug­gle to nav­i­gate around your home in the dark or find your­self strug­gling to see clear­ly when dri­ving at night, sched­ule an appoint­ment with your eye doc­tor. Even if the cause is some­thing harm­less and cur­able, any sud­den changes in vision are worth get­ting checked out.

If your day­time vision has begun to strug­gle or you are tired of deal­ing with the has­sle of glass­es and/or con­tacts, then give us a call, today. At Dia­mond Vision, we are proud to offer the most cut­ting-edge tech­nolo­gies and treat­ments to help our patients see as clear­ly as pos­si­ble.

To learn more about the pro­ce­dures we offer, vis­it our web­site.

November 24th, 2018|Comments Off on Night Blindness: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

About the Author:

Born in Connecticut and raised in Upstate New York , Dr. Stetson graduated Cum Laude from Colgate University in New York, and then earned an MD degree with honors at the University of Vermont College of Medicine. He distinguished himself again in residency at the Albany Medical Center, where he obtained the highest percentile in the Ophthalmology Knowledge Assessment Examinations. Dr. Stetson has performed more than 50,000 refractive surgeries and has been on staff at Diamond Vision since 2004, before becoming Medical Director in 2006.
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