Night Blindness

Night blindness

Night blindness, also called nyctalopia, means a person cannot see well at night or in poor light.Night blindness is not an eye condition itself, but is a symptom of other eye problems, such as untreated short-sightedness.Night blindness affects the ability to drive and is a condition the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) needs to be told about.

What causes night blindness?

Night blindness is due to a disorder of the cells in the retina that are responsible for vision in dim light. It has many causes, including:

  • Short-sightedness
  • Glaucoma medications that work by constricting the pupil
  • Cataracts
  • Retinitis pigmentosa
  • Vitamin A deficiency

In order to determine what is causing night blindness, the optician will perform a thorough eye examination and may arrange any of a number of specialised examinations.

How is night blindness treated?

Treatment for night blindness will depend upon its cause. Treatment may be as simple as a new prescription for your glasses or switching glaucoma medications, or it may require surgery in cases of cataracts.

Is night blindness reversible?

We report a case of reversible night blindness (nyctalopia) secondary to vitamin A deficiency, which serves as a reminder of the condition and also as a warning that its incidence may be on the rise in the developed world as the popularity of bariatric surgery increases.

Is night blindness a hereditary disease?

Carriers of an NYX or CACNA1F mutation can pass on the mutated gene, but most do not develop any of the vision problems associated with X-linked congenital stationary night blindness. However, carriers may have retinal changes that can be detected with an electroretinogram.
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