Night blindness (Nyctalopia)

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Overview

Nyctalopia, also known as night blindness, is a kind of visual impairment that occurs during the night. People who suffer from night blindness lose their eyesight at night or in poorly illuminated areas. A blind person cannot see in the dark.

You cannot see properly at night or in low light circumstances like those seen in a restaurant or a movie theatre if you have night blindness. Due to the variable brightness of headlights and road lighting, you may also have impaired vision when driving, which is potentially hazardous.

It is commonly linked to a failure to transition quickly from a well-lit to a less light area. Indeed, it is a sign of a more severe underlying eye illness, most often a retinal problem, rather than a disease in itself. Night vision problems are frequent in myopic people, despite the fact that they are caused by optical defects rather than retinal illness.

The eyes adapt to changing lighting conditions on a regular basis. The pupils i.e. the black circle at the center of each eye dilate (widen) when there is little or no light, allowing more light to enter the eye. The retina, a layer of tissue in the rear of the eye that contains all of the rod and cone cells responsible for vision, receives it next. The perception of color is aided by cone cells. Rod cells are responsible for the ability to see in the dark. Those rods may not function correctly as a result of a disease, injury, or condition, thus causing the individual to become unable to see in the dark at all.

There are many varieties of night blindness, some of which may be treated. Consult your doctor to figure out what is causing the visual problems. You may begin trying to restore your eyesight after establishing the underlying problem.

The treatment for night blindness differs depending on the underlying cause of the disease.

As part of the treatment, you may be advised to wear particular kinds of glasses or contact lenses. Sunglasses may protect the eyes from harmful UV radiation, which may cause severe eye damage, in addition to providing optical protection. Eye surgery may be required in more severe situations. LASIK, for example, is a kind of eye surgery in which the cornea’s curvature is corrected to enhance visual quality. Other forms of surgery may be used to remove a cataract or to alleviate glaucoma symptoms by lowering eye pressure.

It may be incurable in certain circumstances. There are currently no effective therapies for retinitis pigmentosa, however, a variety of eye equipment and therapy services may assist to alleviate symptoms and improve the overall quality of life.

Prophylactic therapies may be useful in reducing some of the risks associated with night blindness. This may include not driving at night and avoiding the need to move about in the dark as much as possible.

Causes

A range of eye diseases, including the following, may induce night blindness:

Myopia or Nearsightedness: It impairs vision while looking at distant objects.

Glaucoma: It is a series of eye diseases in which the optic nerve, which links the eye to the brain, is damaged, resulting in increased eye pressure. This might cause irreversible vision impairment.

Cataracts: It clouds the lens of the eye. Cataracts are more common among the elderly, putting them at a higher risk of getting them. As a result, they are more prone than children or young adults to get night blindness.

Retinitis pigmentosa:It causes tunnel vision when dark pigment accumulates in the retina.

Usher syndrome: It is a genetic condition that affects both hearing and vision.

The deficiency of vitamin A (retinol) may also cause night blindness in certain people. It is a fat-soluble vitamin that assists in the conversion of nerve impulses into visual information in the retina.

Individuals with pancreatic insufficiencies, such as those with cystic fibrosis, are at a greater risk of developing vitamin A deficiency since vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin. As a result, individuals are more prone to have problems with their night vision.

Diabetes is also linked with night blindness. People with diabetes or high blood glucose (sugar) levels are more likely to develop vision problems like cataracts.

When to see a doctor

Seek medical attention if you experience the following symptoms that are often associated with night blindness:

·         Blurry vision

·         Headaches

·         Eye pain

·         Nausea

·         Vomiting

·         Light sensitivity

·         Difficulty in seeing the distant object

If you develop night blindness, see your doctor right away since it might be an indication of a more severe condition.