Night blindness, also known as nyctalopia, is a type of vision impairment that involves poor vision at night or in low-light environments. Local optometrist and eye care expert Nova Vision Center shares an overview of night blindness.
What Is Night Blindness?
While the term “night blindness” implies a total lack of vision at night, this isn’t exactly the case. Rather, patients with night blindness have difficulty seeing in dark environments unaided, whereas people with normal vision adjust to a darker environment within a minute or two.
People with night blindness cannot adjust as easily. This can make performing certain tasks difficult, such as finding the bathroom in the middle of the night or driving at night. If you are afflicted by night blindness, an eye doctor can perform an examination and provide management to help you see better.
Causes of Night Blindness
Several eye conditions are associated with night blindness, such as nearsightedness, cataracts and retinitis pigmentosa, or “tunnel vision.” Diets that are deficient in certain nutrients, such as retinol (vitamin A) may also contribute to night blindness. Older adults are at a greater risk of developing night blindness than children or young adults.
Treatment differs depending on the underlying cause. Your eye doctor will factor in medical history, genetic conditions and diet in determining the right treatment. Night blindness caused by nearsightedness can be treated using eyeglasses or contact lenses, while that caused by diet deficiencies may be managed via supplements or a change in diet.
Night blindness caused by genetic conditions, such as retinitis pigmentosa, is generally not treatable. The gene that causes pigmentation build-up in the retina does not respond to known treatment methods such as corrective lenses or surgery.
Nova Vision Center, your local eye doctor and vision expert, can help you if you have symptoms of night blindness. Give us a call at (703) 578-3600 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment. We serve clients in Alexandria and Arlington, VA.