Night blindness, also known as nyctalopia, is the inability to see well at night or in dimly lit environments. Nyctalopia is not a disease, but a condition that can result in symptoms such as: blurry vision while driving at night, excessive squinting while in the dark, reduced contrast sensitivity and more.
There are a number of different conditions that can be responsible for the development of Nyctalopia. The problem with night blindness is centered around issues with the retina’s cell rods. The cell rods specialize in the eyes adaptation to darkness and light and when these rods suffer damage you begin to see the onset of Nyctalopia.
- Myopia: Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, is a condition where objects up close appear clear and ones far away do not. This may develop gradually or rapidly and it is a condition that usually runs in families.
- Glaucoma: Glaucoma is a condition that usually occurs when excess fluid builds up in the front of your eye. This causes damage to the optic nerve and is the leading cause of blindness for people over the age of 60.
- Cataracts: Cataracts cause cloudy vision and can make it difficult to read, see while driving, see at night, or even see the expression on someone's face. Most cataracts develop due to ageing or injury and it tends to be in both eyes, however it is not always even.
- Vitamin A deficiency: A lack of vitamin A can lead to a number of issues with eyesight and can also be a possible cause of Nyctalopia. It is a vitamin that aids in eye health and lack of it can cause a number of issues.
Treatment options for Nyctalopia will vary depending on the cause. Treatments range from being as simple as taking supplements to having to get surgery. However it is not something that can be treated at home therefore visiting a doctor to discuss treatment options is vital. Potential treatment options for some causes include:
Myopia: If the cause of your night blindness is Myopia, then you should consider getting prescription glasses. If you already have a prescription and your eyes are having issues adjusting to contrasts in light, look into getting a new prescription to help.
Cataracts: Usually in the case that night blindness is being caused by cataracts, the best option may be surgery.
Vitamin A Deficiency: If you have a vitamin deficiency that is causing issues with your eyes, taking supplements and eating foods that are high in vitamin A is suggested. According to MedicalnewsToday, foods high in vitamin A include:
- Sweet Potato
How to Prevent it
While it is not possible to prevent genetic predispositions, it is possible to take action to prevent it from worsening. Consider adding these things into your lifestyle to help prevent Nyctalopia:
- Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV rays
- Get regular eye exams
- Eat foods high in vitamin A
- Exercise Regularly