Night blindness is also called nyctalopia. Night blindness is not classified as a disease. Rather, it is a symptom of an underlying disorder or problem, such as untreated nearsightedness. This condition is not age specific, even young children can be affected by night blindness. Not all types of night blindness are treatable. A physician should be consulted to determine the underlying cause of this vision impairment so that steps can be taken to correct it. Be sure to explain the suspected night blindness symptoms to your physician.
Night Blindness Symptoms
Although the name, night blindness, implies you cannot see at all, this is untrue. Night blindness is just a form of vision impairment.
- One night blindness symptoms is that people affected experiencepoor vision at night or in environments that are dimly lit.
- Those with night blindness have difficulties seeing at night, they areable to see normally during the day, when adequate light is present. But it may take more time for their eyes to adjust from a nicely lit area to a dark area.
- Besides, people affected with night blindness have a more difficult time with vision and driving in the darkness. And they may have difficulties to see objects in the dark that are easily visible by other drivers. It can also be felt when driving due to the varying levels of brightness associated with headlights and streetlights on the road.
- Except for poor vision in the dark, night blindness symptoms may also include dry eyes and blurred vision.
Causes of Night Blindness
Night blindness symptoms are caused by a disorder of the cells in the retina which are responsible for vision in dim light. Symptoms of night blindness may be brought aboutby the following:
- Glaucoma or glaucoma medications
- Retinitis pigmentosa
- Vitamin A deficiency
How to Get Rid of Night Blindness
Treatment options for night blindness vary depending on the cause. Following are some of the main causes.
- A pair of new prescription eyeglasses or changing medication for glaucoma may simply be the solution, or it may be as invasive as surgery to correct cataracts.
- If an acquired condition is the cause of night blindness, it usually resolves after the underlying cause is successfully treated. For example, if the cause is related to a vitamin A deficiency, individuals are likely to respond well to nutritional supplementation and a healthy diet. In fact, treating vitamin A deficiency early on is greatly important because if left untreated, this condition can lead topermanent blindness.
- If night blindness is a result of a congenital disorder, unfortunately, this is permanent. This requires monitoring by an eye care specialist on a regular basis. Individuals affected by such a condition need to take extra precautions to prevent injuries that may be related to night blindnesssymptoms.
- While managing night blindness, it is imperative to receive regular eye examinations from an eye care professional. The treatment may be simple or invasive; however, detecting this condition early on is essential to avoid the risk of injury to yourself or other drivers while driving at night.
Precautions When Driving with Night Blindness
Death rates related to traffic accidents are three times greater at night than during the day, according to the National Safety Council. At night, driving is dangerous as the ability of a driver to react to potential dangers depends on vision, which is greatly limited at night. Drivers that are older in age have an even more difficult time seeing at night.
- If you or someone you know is affected by night blindness, the best way to stay safe and protect yourself and others is to avoid driving at night. Run necessary errands and schedule appointments during the daytime hours. Even in a city that is well-lit at night, it is still difficult for an individual with night blindness to navigate.
- If for some reason, it is imperative that you must go out and drive at night, steps can be taken to protect yourself and other drivers: visibility at night may be increased by making sure your car windows and headlights are clean; slowing down your speed while driving will give you more time to react if you encounter any potential hazards.
- Also, if possible, ask a friend or family member to drive you, or consider taking other transportation such as a bus or taxi. It is essential to take all available precautions when affected by night blindness to ensure your own safety and the safety of others until symptoms of night blindness can be improved or corrected.