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Night Blindness

September 15, 2014

Do you have difficulty driving at night, seeing clearly in low light or have trouble transitioning from bright light to dim light?  You may be suffering from Night Blindness, also known as nyctalopia.  Night Blindness is a misnomer- in that people with this affliction are NOT blind but rather have vision impairment in low light environments.  Let’s look at some of the symptoms, causes and possible treatments of Night Blindness.

  • Symptoms: The main symptom of night blindness is difficulty seeing in the dark. In fact most people notice that they have trouble seeing while driving at night.  Another symptom includes an inability to transition from light to dark situations. Seniors are more likely to suffer from night blindness than children or young adults.
  • Causes: A number of eye conditions can cause night blindness, including:
      • nearsightedness: blurred vision when looking at faraway objects
      • cataracts: a clouding of the eye’s lens
      • retinitis pigmentosa: when dark pigment collects in your retina, creating tunnel vision
      • Usher syndrome: a genetic condition that affects both hearing and vision
      • Vitamin A deficiency: Vitamin A, also called retinol, plays a role in transforming nerve impulses into images in the retina. The retina is a light-sensitive area in the back of your eye.
      • Diabetes: Patients who have high blood glucose (sugar) levels or diabetes also have a higher risk of developing eye diseases, such as cataracts.
  • Treatments: Seek an eye exam from your doctor in order to diagnose night blindness. You may also be asked to give a blood sample. Blood testing can measure your vitamin A and glucose levels. Night blindness caused by nearsightedness, cataracts, or vitamin A deficiency is treatable. Corrective lenses, such as eyeglasses or contacts, can improve nearsighted vision both during the day and at night. Let your doctor know if you still have trouble seeing in dim light even with corrective lenses.