Night Blindness

Night Blindness

Do you have trouble seeing at night? While it’s no surprise that most of us don’t see well in the dark. There are some people who have considerable difficulty seeing in poor light. Some call this night blindness eye doctors call it nyctalopia. But, regardless of how you label it, the vision problem can be troubling. Night blindness can be generally defined as a condition in which someone has trouble seeing in dim light or darkness. The problem occurs when the eyes need to adjust for an unusually long time when going from light to dark places. 

For some, it may be harder, or take longer, to adjust to seeing when going from a well-lit place into darkness. And for others, you may see poorly or not be able to see at all in dimly lit conditions. Night blindness is not a disease in itself, but instead is a symptom of some other type of vision problem. For this reason, symptoms should not be overlooked. With this in mind, we offer some more insight on what it is, what causes it, and what you can do about it.

At this time of year when the sun begins to set early, many people are affected by night blindness.

What Is Night Blindness & What Are The Symptoms?

At this time of year when the sun begins to set early, many people are affected by night blindness. Night blindness, is where the eye is unable to adapt to low-light conditions, such as walking into a dark movie theater. It is not a disease in itself, but instead is a symptom of some other type of vision problem. If you think you have night blindness, the main indicator is difficulty seeing well in dark or dim lighting, especially when transitioning from a brighter to a lower light environment. Other indicators induce:

Nyctalopia Symptoms:

  • Sensitivity to light
  • Abnormal trouble adapting to the dark while driving at night
  • Reduced contrast sensitivity 
  • Difficulty seeing in places with dim lighting
  • Trouble adjusting from bright to dark areas
  • Excessive squinting at night

Night blindness itself is actually a symptom of a vision problems rather than a condition in and of itself.

What Causes Night Blindness?

There are certain cells in the eye’s retina that are responsible for allowing you to see in dim light. If these cells are affected by a disease or condition, night blindness occurs. These cells are called photoreceptors (there are two types in the retina: rods and cones). The problem is centered in your retina’s rod cells. 

Your rod cells specialize in movement and adaptation from darkness to light while cone cells specialize in distinguishing colors. In some cases, being very nearsighted can make it hard to see in low or dim light. But in other cases, night blindness itself is actually a symptom of a vision problems rather than a condition in and of itself. This includes:

Causes:

What Can I Do About Night Blindness?

Treatment for night blindness depends on the cause. To determine what is causing it, an eye doctor will perform a comprehensive eye exam and may order any number of specialized exams. If it is myopia, you may just need a new eyeglass prescription. But because some causes for night blindness are treatable and others are not, the best thing you can do is book an eye exam. This way your eye doctor can determine the source of  your night blindness, and the most appropriate treatment.

Night Blindness

Diagnosis & Treatment

As with any change in vision, it is critical to get your eyes checked as soon as you experience symptoms, and on a routine basis even if you have no symptoms at all. Regardless of your age or health, it’s important to make routine eye exams a part of your overall approach to living a healthy life. So, to ensure a lifetime of healthy vision, we recommend that you schedule a comprehensive eye exam every year, contact our office at (805) 522-7007 to book yours today.