Night blindness, a relatively common condition among people, how much do you know about it? Does it mean that a person totally cannot see anything at night? Or will night blindness lead people to legally blind? Caring for the health of our eyes is what everyone should do, if you are new to realizing night blindness, you might have lots of queries. Hopefully, most of your questions could be answered in this article.
What is Night Blindness?
When we enter a dark place from a light place, our eyes tend to be able to adapt quickly to the darkness. Even when there is not enough light, our eyes can still receive some of the light projected onto our retina, and the rod cells in our retina will help us see in the dark. However, when some unusual situations happen to these rod cells in the retina, people would not see clearly in the dark.
Night blindness medical term also known as Nyctalopia, is a type of eye problem, and can be simply explained as poor vision at night. It mainly manifests as people couldn’t see clearly in the dark or in a dimly lit environment. According to Cleveland, one of the top hospitals in the world, night blindness is usually a retina problem. Night blindness may be congenital or acquired, and a lot of reasons can lead to night blindness.
You might wonder if a night blindness person can see in bright light. The answer is yes. In fact, since the primary symptom of night blindness is a diminished ability to adapt to bright and dark light, the central vision or visual field is not lost. Therefore, people with night blindness can normally see during the day or in brightly lit areas.
The symptoms of night blindness also include different forms. For instance, people who have night blindness can be hard to adapt when the lighting turns to darkness. They are likely to have trouble when driving at night, or their contrast sensitivity would be reduced. There are many possible causes of night blindness and therefore the treatments for night blindness vary.
What causes Night Blindness?
As the definition of night blindness says it’s more like an eye problem rather than a disease, it is sometimes a complication of certain eye conditions. Nearsightedness, cataracts, glaucoma, diabetes, all these eye conditions tend to be common causes of night blindness. To be more specific, for example, glaucoma medications can be the reason that causes night blindness. Cataracts cloud the lens of the eye, then leading to night blindness.
Some people might hear about night blindness could be a lack of a particular vitamin element. If you have the habit of paying attention to eye health, you will know that night blindness is related to a deficiency of vitamin A as well. Due to the characteristics of vitamin A, people who have undergone intestinal surgery and people with diminished pancreatic function are more possible to suffer from vitamin A deficiency, which can lead to night blindness.
Except for the above-mentioned situations, there is a number of night blindness caused by congenital eye conditions like retinitis pigmentosa, which are considered congenital night blindness. One of the most famous and common forms is congenital stationary night blindness (CSNB). This is a genetic disease that causes night blindness symptoms due to damage to cells in the retina. CSNB is characterized by the same symptoms as general night blindness, but it is pathological and currently incurable. The common feature of all congenital night blindness is that they are almost incurable.
Can Night Blindness Lead to Blindness?
Talking about night blindness, most people may care more about if night blindness can lead to blindness. It’s a topic worth discussing. Generally speaking, night blindness won’t lead to blindness or totally blind. Nevertheless, the eye is a critical but delicate organ in the human body. It has a complex function and therefore eye conditions often produce a variety of complicated symptoms.
Non-pathological night blindness usually does not lead to total blindness. It mentioned above that night blindness is actually not a disease itself, and it often can be advanced by treatments or optical tools. This kind of night blindness we consider it as acquired night blindness. As for congenital night blindness, the situation can be more complex.
For instance, the CSNB eye has developed some pathological changes, such as damage to cells in the retina, which can propose the appearance of other eye conditions. Then, when the condition is severe enough, there is a possibility of total blindness. In this case, the underlying cause of blindness might be the result of changes in other eye diseases, not necessarily caused by night blindness.
What are the treatments for night blindness?
Night blindness symptoms and treatments can be considered comprehensively when dealing with this eye issue. For different causes of night blindness, the treatments are various. Because of the lesions that appear in the CSNB retina, it is difficult to cure with the current medical technology. However, depending on the specific clinical situation, there may be treatments to alleviate the symptoms, and it is necessary to consult a professional ophthalmologist for specific options.
Related Medications and Eye Surgery Improve Night Blindness
The good news is that acquired night blindness can be prevented and improved, but it is also important to remember to adjust your treatment plan depending on the cause. For instance, night blindness symptoms caused by cataracts may be improved with surgical treatment of cataracts. If night blindness is caused by glaucoma medicines, you can consult with your doctor to adjust your treatment medication. Some of the milder symptoms of night blindness can also be relieved by wearing night blindness glasses.
Vitamin A Supplement to Treat Night Blindness
Night blindness due to vitamin A deficiency, could be promoted by supplementing with vitamin A or foods with abundant vitamin A. It should be noted that, for vitamin A supplementation, you need to refer to the advice of doctors and specialists as well. Excessive intake of vitamin A might be a risk of vitamin A toxicity, which can result in symptoms such as vomiting, dizziness, and bloodshot eyes.
Nutrition Supplements for Pregnant Women to Protect Babies' Vision
Women who are pregnant can protect the eye health of their babies by caring about nutrition supplements. For example, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), is a crucial element that would influence the vision growth of unborn babies during pregnancy. Adequate intake of DHA ensures good development of fetal visual ability. Conversely, a severe deficiency of this element may have other effects on the development of the child's vision.
Although congenital night blindness cannot be prevented and treated, we can always prevent acquired night blindness by living a healthy lifestyle. Consume adequate and rich nutrition, pay attention to vitamin A supplementation, wear sunglasses when you go out on sunny days, and do some proper exercise. All of these behaviors can help us protect our eyes and live healthy lives.
Some Tips for People with Night Blindness
Contact Your Eye Doctor In Time
Feeling the symptoms of night blindness, the first thing you should do is contact an eye doctor. After realizing the causes of your night blindness, you will know how to deal with the conditions, whether by enhancing normal protection or using medications according to medical advice. Your ophthalmologist may provide you with a night blindness test to diagnose better, and it will help you recognize your situation more comprehensively and correctly.
Don't Challenge Driving at Night
Besides paying more attention to eye health, people with night blindness shall avoid doing relatively dangerous actions, especially challenging driving at night. Blurred vision may cause people with night blindness to be unable to see the road at night, which could lead to car accidents. Meanwhile, continued night driving with poor eye conditions may also cause other discomforts such as dizziness and vomiting.
Bring Portable Flashlight and Ladies Avoid Wearing High Heels
Sometimes people with night blindness meet the issue that they have to go out at night, or they need to be attendance in somewhere dark. It’s a possible and usual situation in daily life. In this case, bringing a portable flashlight can be a good option. It would help you illuminate the darkness so you would be able to see. Also, for ladies with night blindness, it’s better not to wear high heels when going to dark places, in order to avoid accidents during walking.
Adequate Use of Eyes and Daily Vitamin A Supplements
Since the main symptom of night blindness indicates vision loss in the dark, to reduce using eyes too much when the light is not strong enough should be taken. Whether people have night blindness or not, excessive eye use is in itself a great harm to our eyes. Proper eye use is not only for the preservation of our vision, but also for the protection of our eye function. Daily attention to foods containing vitamin A, such as carrots, tomatoes, milk, and beef, will help protect our eye health as well.
Protecting our eyes and caring more about our eye health is daily what we should do. To talk about night blindness, people are supposed to have comprehensive recognition. Some people fear it too much, and some people don't care about it at all. Viewing night blindness properly does not cause much trouble in our lives, but it can also have serious consequences if it is kept ignored. Low vision at night is actually a common situation that existed among people, with advanced medical treatments and useful technical devices, night blindness won’t any longer bring great panic.