Can’t See in the Dark? You Might Have Night Blindness

Are your eyes oddly sensitive to light? Does your near-perfect vision suddenly become blurry or cloudy in low-light conditions? If yes, you might have a rare condition called night blindness.


What Is Night Blindness?

Night blindness, or nyctalopia, is the inability to see well in dim light or darkness. It is a symptom of an underlying ocular condition impairing the retina – a layer of photoreceptors and glial cells at the back of your eye.


What Are the Causes of Night Blindness?

The common causes of this condition include:

  • Vitamin A deficiency: Vitamin A is essential for good retinal health and the formation of visual pigments in the eye. A lack of vitamin A in your diet can lead to night blindness. In fact, it is the leading cause of vision loss in children worldwide.
  • Retinal disorders: Diseases affecting the retina, such as retinitis pigmentosa or age-related macular degeneration, can damage the cells responsible for night vision.
  • Cataracts: Cataracts are cloudy areas in the lens. They scatter and block light, making it difficult to see in low light.
  • Glaucoma medications: These prescriptions constrict the pupil, reducing low-light entry and impairing night vision. Switching glaucoma medications can reverse the problem.

Other causes of night vision blindness include nearsightedness (myopia), corneal disorders, and glaucoma. In some cases, night blindness is a side effect or symptom of an underlying health condition like hypertension, diabetes, liver disease, or atherosclerosis.

Diagnosing the underlying cause is crucial to determining an effective treatment plan and preventing permanent vision loss. Here’s what you need to do:

  • Consult a top ophthalmologist in Sun City, Arizona, for a comprehensive eye exam.
  • Consult a primary care practitioner for blood tests and other diagnostic procedures.


What Are the Symptoms?

The main symptom of night blindness is difficulty seeing in low-light environments. For example, you may have trouble seeing road signs, stairs, or objects in your path at night. Night blindness can come on gradually or suddenly. Additional symptoms may include sensitivity to light and seeing halos around lights.


What Are the Treatments for Night Blindness?

Treatment options for night blindness aim to address the underlying causes and improve vision in dim light conditions. Based on the cause and severity of your vision impairment, your doctors may recommend one or more of the following:



For night blindness due to vitamin A deficiency, your healthcare provider may prescribe vitamin A in the form of retinyl palmitate. It helps regulate vitamin A levels and improve symptoms. You may also benefit from consuming foods rich in vitamin A, such as carrots, spinach, eggs, and cantaloupes.



If an underlying condition like retinitis pigmentosa is responsible for your night vision blindness, medications may help slow vision loss and delay disease progression. For instance, DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), an omega-3 fatty acid, may help support retinal health and return night vision to its original levels within six weeks.


Vision Aids

There are two-night vision aids available to assist individuals with night blindness. The ITT Night Vision Aid (NVA) functions as a light amplification device, while the Wide Angle Mobility Light (WAML) operates as a wide-beam flashlight. Both products enhance visual acuity in low light or darkness.

If your nearsightedness is causing night blindness, treatment can be as simple as renewing your eyeglass prescription.



In some cases, an ophthalmologist may recommend surgery to address the underlying cause of night blindness or prevent further vision loss. For example, if a cataract is obstructing your night vision, an eye surgeon can replace your cloudy lens with an artificial lens. The appropriateness of surgery will depend on your condition’s specifics and degree of visual impairment.


To add, procedures like retinal transplants, gene therapy, and implantations of retinal prosthetics are in the research and development stage. They may eventually provide options for reversing or slowing degenerative eye diseases contributing to night blindness.


Are There Lifestyle Changes and Home Remedies for Night Blindness?

There are no home remedies for night blindness. However, some lifestyle choices may relieve symptoms or slow the progression of vision loss.


Dietary Changes

Adjustments to your diet can help support eye health and improve night vision.

As mentioned earlier, make room for foods high in vitamin A in your daily diet, which is essential for overall retinal health. You should also eat more foods high in zinc and omega-3 fatty acids. Zinc and omega-3s promote eye health and may slow vision decline. Cutting down consumption of sugar, processed foods, and unhealthy fats can also benefit eye health in the long run.


Eye Exercises

Simple eye exercises may help stimulate your eyes and optic nerve, possibly slowing vision loss from night blindness.

Here are some examples of exercises to keep your eyes active and flexible:

  • Alternate between focusing on distant and near objects.
  • Move your eyes side to side, up and down, and trace the outline of objects around you.

Also read: Eye Exercises You Can Do at Home


Limit Screen Time

Too much screen time, especially late at night, can strain your eyes and worsen vision problems. The blue light emitted from electronics may also disrupt your circadian rhythm, making night blindness symptoms feel more intense.


What Is the Long-Term Outlook?

Overall, there are several common causes and treatments for night blindness. By understanding the factors that can contribute to impaired night vision and the options available to help improve it, you can easily manage this condition. The most important thing is not to ignore symptoms of night blindness and to consult Arizona Retinal Specialists right away. We can properly assess your situation, determine the underlying cause, and recommend an effective treatment plan based on your needs. With the right treatment and management strategies, night blindness does not have to impact your life or independence.


Where to Get an Eye Exam for Night Blindness in Sun City, Arizona

You might have night blindness if you have trouble seeing while driving at night, cannot see at all in the dark, or if everything looks blurry when you are in a dimly lit room. Contact us today at 623-474-3937 (EYES) to schedule your dilated eye exam. Not only is night vision impairment a dangerous condition, but it can also signal a serious health problem.

NOTICE TO USERS is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment, or therapy. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding any health symptom or medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice nor delay in seeking professional advice or treatment because of something you have read on