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.

What causes night blindness?

Night blindness has many causes, including:

  • Myopia
  • Glaucoma medications that work by constricting the pupil
  • Cataracts
  • Retinitis pigmentosa
  • Vitamin A deficiency

To determine what is causing night blindness, an eye doctor will perform a thorough eye exam and may order any of a number of specialized exams.

How is night blindness treated?

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.

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