What is night blindness?
Night blindness (nyctalopia) is the inability to see well at night or in poor light. It is not a disease in itself, but rather a symptom of an underlying problem, usually a retina problem. It is common for patients who are myopic to have some difficulties with night vision, but this is not due to retinal disease, but rather to optical issues.
Driving at night can be challenging. Road signs can be hard to read, and familiar landmarks are not clearly visible. Night driving especially is a problem for people suffering from night blindness. Here are three things to know about this condition:
Symptoms – There are several common signs of night blindness:
Doctors recommend that people with night blindness not drive after dusk, and walk with another person when navigating streets and sidewalks at night.
Causes – Night blindness develops from a disorder of cells in the retina caused by:
Treatment – See your eye doctor every year, so vision changes can be tracked and corrected.
During the exam, the eye doctor will look for vision changes and any signs of disease. If night blindness is diagnosed, the doctor will determine whether it can be treated with:
Treatment for night blindness will depend upon its cause. Treatment may be as simple as getting a new eyeglass prescription or switching glaucoma medications, or it may require surgery if the night blindness is caused by cataracts.
If a retinal disease is discovered, the treatment will depend on the type of the disease and will require additional investigation by a retina specialist.
Night blindness is not treatable if it’s caused by a birth defect or retinitis pigmentosa.