What is Night Blindness?
Nyctalopia or Night blindness or nyctanopia is the lack of ability to see properly during the night or due to reduced light. An individual suffering from night blindness may experience problems while moving from bright light areas to dim-lit areas. It has not been classified as a disorder but is the result of an disorder like myopia (near sightedness) left untreated.
What are the Causes of Night Blindness?
It is caused due to disorder in the cells of the retina, which are responsible for vision in poor light. The retina consists of rods and cones and it is rods that help the eye see objects in dim-lit areas. There are many causes for this disorder like Cataracts, Vitamin A deficiency, Retinitis pigmentosa, old age, diabetes, tissue decay, genetic disorders and myopia to name among a few. The most common cause is found to be cataracts, which is common in individuals who are above fifty years of age. Retinities pigmentosa usually affects younger persons and has been classified as a hereditary disease.
Another cause is deficiency in Vitamin A which is also essential for maintaining the health of the skin and skeletal tissues. It is found in animal liver, milk etc. Certain drugs can also become the cause of night blindness as they prevent absorption of Vitamin A.
How is night blindness treated?
The treatment will vary from individual to individual as it will depend upon the severity of the problem and the causes. Simple treatments include new eyeglass recommendation or change in glaucoma medications. If the individuals are infected by cataracts, then they may require surgery.
There are various kinds of treatments and few are given below:
Medical Therapy: The physician will advise a well-balanced diet, or oral Vitamin A supplements. The main objective will be to find the root cause of the problem which has caused this ailment.
Glare and Glasses: Individuals who have problem of nearsightedness will have to wear their glasses all the time after darkness. The physician may recommend the use of anti-reflective coat on the glasses as it decreases the glare and increases the amount of light reaching the eye.
Diet: A well balanced diet with Vitamins which include A, D and E prevents degeneration of tissues and fresh fruits, vegetables which have beta carotene which is essential for healthier eye-sight.