What is Night Blindness?
Night blindness or medically known as nyctalopia is a condition wherein a person has vision difficulties at night or where there is low light. Night blindness is more of a symptom of an underlying eye disease rather than a medical disorder in itself. This particular symptom may be present at birth or may be acquired later in life due to injury to parts of the eye or malnutrition.
Retinitis pigmentosa is said to be the most common cause of night blindness or nyctalopia. This involves a defect on the rod cells of the retina. Rod cells are responsible for processing light that passes through the eye’s retina. And if these cells do not function properly, they will gradually lose the ability to process the light coming through them. This will then cause people to have difficulty in seeing things in low light conditions or at night. In worst cases, some people even have difficulty seeing even during day time or bright light conditions.
Other conditions that may cause nyctalopia include myopia, cataracts, deficiency in Vitamin A, medications that cause pupil constriction like those for glaucoma, oguchi disease, Sorsby’s fundus dystrophy, and refractive surgery.
Treatment for night blindness depends on the symptoms presented by the patient, its severity, and the cause for the vision difficulty at night and low light conditions. For milder cases, new prescription eyeglasses may be the only thing that’s needed to help people see better at night time. For those under glaucoma medication, a change of drug type may be advised by doctors. People with cataracts for example are usually advised to undergo surgery. It is also advised that people experiencing symptoms of night blindness or nyctalopia seek medical attention as soon as possible to have better prognosis and to discuss to their doctors their apprehensions with their vision difficulties.