What is night blindness?
Night blindness is a type of vision impairment that is also known as ‘nyctalopia’. There is a number of people who experience difficulty seeing at night time or in dim lights. Although the name indicates difficult vision only at night time that is actually not the case. You might face difficulty in seeing at other times of the day too.
Since it is mostly believed that night blindness is the inability to see at night, ophthalmologists clarify otherwise. According to them, when a person’s eye is unable to adapt to reduced illumination, it is called night blindness. This can be at night or even in a dimly lit room during the daytime. Sometimes doctors also say that night blindness is not a disease rather it is an extended symptom of another condition like untreated nearsightedness.
Symptoms of night blindness
The one and only symptom of night blindness is the inability to see at night or in dim light. The first time you experience this difficulty, visit a doctor at the earliest to get your eyes checked.
Cause of night blindness:
There is a certain group of cells in the retina that allows you to see in dim lights. Night blindness arises out of disorder in those cells. Some causes of the disorder are:
- Glaucoma medications that are meant to close the pupil
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Retinitis pigmentosa
- Vitamin A deficiency
- Usher syndrome, a genetic condition affection vision, and hearing
The doctor has to carry out a series of tests to determine the cause of night blindness.
(Know about diabetes and eye disorders)
Treatment of night blindness
What treatment will be administered for night-blindness depends upon the cause. It may be getting eyeglasses of eye glasses or changing glaucoma medications or a surgery if night blindness is due to cataracts.
But if the night blindness is the cause of a disease on the retina then many more tests are required to be carried out by a retina specialist to understand the type of retinal disease.
A Vitamin A-deficiency is also the cause of night blindness. In such cases, you have to take vitamin A supplements and foods rich in Vitamin A like animal liver, Cod liver oil, salmon, and hardboiled egg, cheese. Vegetables like sweet potato, winter squash, carrot or spinach when cooked are the best source of Vitamin A. A few fruits like mango, red grapefruit, guava, watermelon, papaya, and apricot have abundance Vitamin A.
While these types of night blindness are treatable, the other type of night blindness caused by a genetic condition like retinitis pigmentosa is not treatable. This defect causes a pigment to build upon the retina that is neither treatable by surgery nor corrective lenses.
Is there a way to prevent night blindness?
Some types of night blindness can be treatable while others cannot. When caused by diabetes or nutrient deficiency, you can treat the condition by changing your food patterns or lifestyle patterns. Also having foods rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals can reduce the risk of having cataracts.
However if your night blindness is the result of a genetic condition like Usher syndrome or retinitis pigmentosa, it is not possible to prevent it.
Night blindness is a dangerous eye condition as it involves safety not just of the self but others as well. If you have night blindness, refrain from driving at night. Be responsible for the well-being of yourself and others. Finish your jobs at daytime or ask lift from a friend if you have to go out at night. You may also avail a cab service. And when you are out in the daytime, wear a pair of sunglasses or a wide-brimmed hat to reduce the glare of the sunlight and for the easy transition into a darker environment.
If you face any difficulty in vision get treated at the earliest no matter how negligent it might be.