Night Blindness: Symptoms, Causes, Prevention Tips and Treatment for Nyctalopia | Health
According to Medicover Hospitals, “Night blindness, also known as nyctalopia, is a condition that means your eyes are unable to adapt to low-light conditions. Night blindness usually occurs as a result of problems with your stem cells, although there are actually several causes of night blindness.
Dr. Tushar Grover, Medical Director of the Vision Eye Center in New Delhi, explains: “Although night blindness or nyctalopia is a condition that looks like a vision problem at night, the truth is that it can have an impact on seen even during the day. In fact, even during the day, when one is in a poorly lit indoor space or when there is dim light, one can feel this problem in the eyes. This is because night blindness involves a poor adjustment of the eye when transitioning from a well-lit environment to one with poor or dim lighting.
He explained: “Typically, light passes through the cornea, the anterior chamber of the eye, the pupil, the lens and the posterior chamber before hitting the retina. When people with night blindness enter an area of low light, the retina’s rod cells (which serve as photoreceptors and are responsible for converting light rays into electrical signals creating what the brain interprets as images) do not not working properly due to an anomaly. As a result, the person finds it difficult to see in the less illuminated area. »
Instead of a medical condition in itself, Dr. Tushar referred to night blindness as a symptom of an underlying eye condition one may have. However, symptoms of it usually include:
1. Not being able to see clearly and comfortably in the dark
2. Taking unusually long to see clearly after moving from a bright area to a dimly lit area
3. Having trouble driving at night
4. Facing difficulties recognizing faces in dim light
5. Blurred vision
6. Trouble seeing distant objects
7. Reduced contrast sensitivity
9. Eye pain
10. Nausea and vomiting
According to Dr. Tushar, night blindness can be attributed to a wide range of eye conditions such as myopia, cataracts, vitamin A deficiency, glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa, diabetes and Usher syndrome. He shared: “While in myopia it is difficult to see far in the distance, it is the clouding of the lens that leads to cataracts. Due to vitamin A deficiency, there is a lack of pigments necessary for the proper functioning of photoreceptor cells while glaucoma is caused by abnormal pressure in the eye damaging the optic nerve, retinitis pigmentosa leads to retinal damage due to genetic abnormalities and diabetes can lead to diabetic retinopathy and the Resulting damage to blood vessels leading to poor vision in dim light and at night.Usher syndrome is a genetic disorder characterized by hearing loss as well as retinitis pigmentosa.
Dr. Tushar has listed some preventive tips to follow to avoid the risk of night blindness. These include:
1. Foods rich in vitamin A should be consumed. These can include carrots, broccoli, spinach, strawberries, milk, eggs, and foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids like mackerel and salmon.
2. Maintain a healthy exercise and fitness regimen that would keep both eye pressure and blood sugar under control.
3. Monitor and manage chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension.
4. Get checked regularly by an ophthalmologist. At the slightest suspicion of having symptoms of night blindness, it is necessary to have a check-up. Also, lifestyle adjustments need to be made in response to these symptoms. For example, driving at night should be avoided in certain conditions with severe night vision impairment.
Stating that the treatment would depend on the condition causing the night blindness, Dr Tushar suggested that myopia can be treated with simple prescription glasses while cataracts can be treated with an artificial lens or surgery. For vitamin A deficiency, he said foods rich in this nutrient, with the exception of supplements, can treat night blindness, while glaucoma is treated with eye drops, medications and, in some cases, may also require surgery.
He revealed: “In retinitis pigmentosa, low vision aids, UV sunglasses, and gene and stem cell therapies are modes of treatment. Diabetes requires good blood sugar control and if a person’s condition progresses to diabetic retinopathy, injections and medications, laser surgery and vitrectomy are different treatments.
Highlighting genetic conditions as almost incurable, Dr Tushar opined that people with night blindness due to genetic conditions may have to live with it. “However, there are eye devices and therapies that can help. Even people with incurable diseases can benefit significantly from ‘low vision aids’ which help to dramatically improve their quality of life with the help of special devices and gadgets,” he suggested.
In short, if you suffer from night blindness, you must remember that even during the day, it would be difficult to see clearly in less lit places. So it’s not just a problem at night.