Most, if not all, people will be unable to see well in dark conditions, such as during the night, because the human eyes aren’t like cats’ eyes. But there are people who have significant difficulty seeing in dark conditions, even in poor lighting, which is known as night blindness – or nyctalopia, as the doctors call it. Here are a few things to know about it including its symptoms, causes and treatments.
Questions to Ask
Keep in mind that night blindness isn’t similar to the complete inability to see at night. Instead, it means that your vision isn’t as well as it should be – poorer in acuity – during the night and in low light conditions. But it must also be emphasized that night blindness isn’t a disease per se but a symptom of an underlying eye issue.
If you have doubts whether you have night blindness or not, you should consider these questions:
- Are you having difficulty moving around at night, even in a familiar area like your house and even with night lights on?
- Is the frequency of your tripping over and bumping against objects during the night increasing in frequency?
- Is your nighttime driving becoming more difficult because of your reduced ability to see the road?
- Do you have fears of tripping at night and, thus, your reluctance to venture out for any reason?
- Do your eyes have a difficult or long time adjusting to light after coming in from the dark?
If you answered “yes” to most of the questions, you should discuss your concerns with an ophthalmologist at Pearle Vision as soon as possible. You will likely be required to undergo a complete eye exam to determine the existence of an underlying medical condition affecting the quality of your vision.
Possible Medical Conditions
Night blindness usually occurs when the cells in the eye’s retina responsible for allowing good vision in dim light are affected. Among the medical conditions that affect these cells are:
- Nearsightedness, the inability to see far objects
- Glaucoma, an optic nerve disease (i.e., the optic nerve connects the eyes to the brain) as well as medicine used in its treatment especially one that constricts the pupils
- Cataracts, a condition wherein the eyes’ naturally clear lens become cloudy
- Diabetes, a disease affecting the body’s insulin response
- Retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic disorder that causes blindness
- Keratoconus, a steeply curved cornea
The treatment for night blindness solely depends on its cause, such as getting new prescription for your eyeglasses, controlling blood sugar levels, or removing cataracts, among others.