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Poor Night Vision: What Can You Do About It?

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Do you have difficulty seeing at night? Poor night vision is common among older members of society, but trouble seeing at night can also be caused by a number of eye conditions that affect people of all ages.

Despite its common name ‘night blindness’, (and its less common yet 100% scientific name ‘nyctalopia’), the condition does not mean that someone becomes completely blind at night. Rather, an individual with night blindness may have difficulty distinguishing between objects at night or see halos around lights at night.

Poor night vision is a symptom of an underlying eye condition that results in vision impairment while in dim lighting. For example, poor night vision could prevent someone from being able to see stars at night, or obstacles in a dark room.

Sounds like you or someone you know? Read on to learn what are some of the causes, and what to do about it…

Age: Yes… age. There’s no known antidote for aging (yet) so, as we get older, our pupils don’t dilate in the dark as much as they should. This reduces the amount of light that enters our eyes. The corneas also become less clear with age – increasing the amount of glare you may see and contributes to poor night vision.

Glaucoma: A condition that contrives to build-up pressure in the eye that can affect peripheral vision. Without peripheral vision, it is difficult to see what is going on around

you – be aware of this… especially while driving!

Cataracts: Their blurring of the field of vision is caused by clouding of the lens covering the eye. Cataracts can significantly impact night vision by accentuating glare and halos from oncoming headlights.

Diabetic retinopathy: Diabetic retinopathy can cause a significant loss of vision and is the leading cause of retinal blindness in adults below the age of 65. Consult your eye doctor for specialist advice here!

Retinitis pigmentosa: Tunnel vision? Most likely caused by this uncommon genetic disorder in which dark pigment collects in the retina. Typically affects people under 30, and deterioration of night vision is one of its earliest symptoms! Consult your eye doctor for specialist advice here too!

Nutritional deficiency: Although rare, a deficiency of vitamin A can also contribute to a reduction of night vision. Also, check your zinc intake. Why? Because zinc helps the body absorb vitamin A, so without zinc, vitamin A is not as effective!

Poor Night Vision Q&A

What does night blindness look like? Do you have night blindness symptoms? Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is moving around the house in dim light a challenge due to vision problems?

  • Is driving at night increasingly difficult?

  • Is it tricky to recognize faces in dim light?

  • Does it take an abnormally long time to adjust to a light room after being in the dark?

  • Does it take a long time to see in a darkened room after being in the light?

Does night vision get worse with age? If unrecognized and untreated – yes. As the years pass by, we’re more likely to suffer from the causes associated with poor night vision. However, with medical intervention from your eye doctor – as well as paying attention to your nutrition – the condition can usually be managed effectively.

How can I improve my night vision? Can glasses help poor night vision? Treatment may include wearing specific types of glasses or contact lenses, which can help to support correct vision. Specialist surgery may become necessary in certain cases – cataracts and diabetic retinopathy for example. When the cause is a lack of vitamin A, you can treat yourself! Good sources of vitamin A include: eggs, fortified cereals and milk, orange and yellow vegetables and fruits, cod liver oil, and dark, leafy green vegetables.

In some cases, poor night vision may not be treatable. For example, retinitis pigmentosa currently has no effective treatments, although specific eye devices and therapy services may improve symptoms and quality of life. Consult your eye doctor – you know it always makes sense!

However, in most cases the cause will have a range of straightforward treatments! This can be as simple as new glasses or contact lenses or adapting to a different diet. If you’re suffering from the effects of poor night vision… there’s no better time to get checked and make a change!

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