Night Blindness: What You Need to Know

What is Night Blindness?

Poor vision doesn’t just occur in the daytime – night blindness can cause visual issues which occur exclusively once the sun goes down. Night blindness, aka Nyctalopia, can negatively impact nighttime driving, cause some people to have difficulty seeing stars in the sky, and even cause sufferers to struggle when walking through a dark room. These problems can worsen if the person was previously exposed to a brightly lit atmosphere. In mild cases, people’s eyes don’t adapt as easily as most when it gets darker out.

The Causes of Night Blindness

Night blindness is a result of a disorder in cells of the retina, whose role is to keep vision sharp in dim light. The causes of night blindness can be both treatable and untreatable as a result of acquired conditions or presence from birth.

Conditions when night blindness is treatable:

  • Cataracts
  • Nearsightedness
  • Side effect from prescription drugs
  • In extremely rare circumstances, Vitamin A deficiency

Two conditions where night blindness is not able to be treated:

  • Birth defects
  • Retinitis pigmentosa

Staying Safe

The most dangerous result of night blindness is accidents. Car accidents and fatalities occur more at night than they do during the daytime. If you have vision issues, then it is especially dangerous to drive at night since vision is more limited. People that are older need much more light to drive safely at night.

There are safety precautions you can take to avoid this. If you struggle to drive at night, it is best to be avoided. If you do have to go out at night, the following can help you stay safe: you can increase how visible you are by maintaining the cleanliness of your windows and headlights, and when you’re on the road, make sure to take it slow so you have adequate time to react to possible hazards.

Squeezing in Your Eye Appointments

Make sure you have regular eye appointments with your doctor, so they can properly diagnose night blindness and the cause of it. If they can treat the condition causing it, then much of your night vision will likely be able to be restored.

At your appointment, you can expect your eye doctor to perform a full examination on your eyes and ask you about the severity of your night blindness, when your symptoms began, how often it occurs, and other relevant questions unique to you and your vision. They will also ask you about your lifestyle choices such as medications you use, what your diet is like, if you have any injuries related to your eyes or surrounding area, if you have a history or family history of diabetes, what your stress levels are like, and any symptoms that may correspond. Other aspects of the eye exam may include the following:

  • Color vision testing
  • Retinal Exam
  • Visual acuity and visual field test
  • Electroretinogram (ERG)
  • Slit lamp examination

We hope this information on night blindness will help our patients who are coping with the difficulties of this condition. Our team knows everything when it comes to your eye issues, and you can pick our brains any time if you have questions or concerns. If you’d like to book a free consultation, contact us today.