The human eye is not designed to see well in the dark. So, it is not a surprise that our surroundings are not crystal clear in the evening. However, some people have more difficulty than others seeing at night or in poor lighting. This is actually called night blindness or nyctalopia.

nightblindnessNight blindness does not mean that you are literally blind at night, but it does mean that your vision is not as good at night. It is not a disease, but it is usually a symptom of some other type of vision problem.

One of the most common symptom is a person who is very nearsighted (myopic). This makes it more difficult to see in low light or at night.

There are certain cells in the eye’s retina that allow you to see in dim light. If these cells are affected by disease or a condition, night blindness will occur.

Some of the eye conditions that can cause night blindness include:

  • Nearsightedness (seeing well up close but not far away)
  • Glaucoma (a disease of the optic nerve connecting the eye to the brain)
  • Medicine for glaucoma that constricts (narrows) the pupil
  • Cataracts (cloudiness of the eye’s naturally clear lens)
  • Diabetes (uncontrolled blood sugar levels)
  • Retinitis pigmentosa (an eye disease that causes blindness)
  • Too little Vitamin A
  • Keratoconus (having a cornea that is very steeply curved)

If you aren’t sure whether you have night blindness, consider the following questions:

  • Do you find yourself having trouble moving around your house at night, even with small night lights?
  • Is driving at night becoming more difficult?
  • Do you avoid going outside at night for fear of tripping?
  • Do you have trouble recognizing people’s faces in darkened settings?
  • Does it take your eyes a long time to adjust to light when coming in from the darkness?
  • Similarly, does it take you a long time to adjust to seeing anything in a darkened room?

If you have any concerns about your ability to see in the dark or in dim light, speak with your ophthalmologist right away. Having a complete eye exam will help identify any condition affecting your vision.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.