There are many possible causes of poor night vision, or at the extreme, night blindness, also known as nyctalopia.
Symptoms of Night Blindness
The sole symptom of night blindness is difficulty seeing in the dark. You’re more likely to experience night blindness when your eyes transition from a bright environment to an area of low light — for example, when you leave a sunny sidewalk to enter a dimly lit store.
You’re also likely to experience poor night vision while driving. This is due to the variable brightness of headlights and streetlights on the road.
3 Simple Causes of Night Blindness
Difficulty seeing at night may simply be caused by:
- The need for a new eyeglass prescription, especially in people who are nearsighted
- A vitamin A or zinc deficiency which prevents the retina from functioning normally.
- A decrease in night vision may also occur after LASIK vision correction following sustained bright sunlight.
4 More Serious Causes of Night Blindness
Other causes of night blindness can be more serious, but may be treatable.
Cataracts are perhaps the most common more serious cause of night blindness. A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lens. One of the first symptoms is a decrease in night vision. Luckily, cataracts can usually be treated with cataract surgery.
2. Retinitis Pigmentosa
Retinitis pigmentosa is another serious condition that causes night blindness. This is a rare genetic disorder that causes vision loss, and in turn, night vision is adversely affected.
People with diabetes are at higher risk for night vision problems because high blood sugar is toxic to the blood vessels and nerves in the eye. Over time, the retina is gradually damaged as a result of a condition called diabetic retinopathy.
Lastly, Glaucoma, a disease of the optic nerve connecting the eye to the brain, can sometimes cause night blindness and even partial or full blindness. A simple, painless eye exam can detect the disease. With early detection and treatment, glaucoma can usually be controlled and blindness prevented.
Treating Night Blindness in NJ
The treatment for night blindness depends on the cause. An eye doctor, such as Central New Jersey’s Dr. Robert Scharfman, can determine the cause and recommend the appropriate treatment.
Have you ever experienced night blindness? If so, let us know in the comments below or contact us to set up an eye exam.