As our era is evolving, diseases and illnesses are doing the same. New and old ailments that surround us are trying to invade our body and risk our health. Eye ailments are one of the deadliest and depressing illnesses that a person can get. If worse comes to worst, it will prevent us to see the beauty of the world. There are a lot of eye illnesses, but these can be prevented if we have the right information in front of us about them. One of these is the night blindness. Sounds simple but can be fatal.
Night Blindness Overview
Nyctalopia is an eye disease, and it came from a Greek word that means “nykt” for night. It is also called Night blindness. It is one of the vision impairment diseases wherein people who have this will experience deficient in seeing at night or low light place. It is a congenital night vision disorder.
The rods and cones in our eyes serve as the photoreceptors that are receiving light and sending details to our optic nerve to our brain for interpretation. These rods are in control of giving us vision during night time or low light. So, if these cells are damaged, then night blindness will be the result. Driving at night will be difficult for people who have night blindness. Loss of peripheral vision can also be a result of having night blindness as the cells are slowly being damaged.
Can Night Blindness Be Treated?
There are some cases of night blindness that are treatable, but there are some, unfortunately, aren’t especially if it is a genetic disease. This eye illness is caused by other eye illness such as nearsightedness, cataracts, glaucoma, Retinitis, Diabetes, Keratoconus, and Vitamin A deficiency. Adults are more than likely to have this ailment because of cataracts and weak vision rather than younger ones. Aulus Cornelius Celsus described and recommended a dietary supplement for night blindness during 30 AD. According to him, women with regular menstruation has less likely to have night blindness. However, Nyctalopia is also found in some animals such as horses and has different treatment than humans.
What are the Symptoms of Night Blindness?
Symptoms of this eye illness vary for each person. People who are diagnosed with having night blindness are often having symptoms of weak vision during night time and in low light, as well as a slow vision between bright and low light. If you have these symptoms, then most likely, you might have night blindness. However, doctors still would like to confirm via a test. Test such as color vision testing, pupil light reflex, refraction, slit lamp examination, retinal exam, and visual acuity. Other tests may involve Electroretinogram, a test that will measure the rod and cones of your eyes and Vision field; this test will check your peripheral vision.
What are the Available Treatments?
As soon as your doctor confirms that you have night blindness, they will also determine whether it is treatable or not. Treatments will depend on the underlying cause of your night blindness.
- Those who have an underlying cause of nearsightedness, vitamin A deficiency and cataracts are treatable and will only require corrective lenses or surgery.
- For those who have cataracts as a cause of night blindness, your doctor will first remove the cataracts through surgery, then they will replace your lens to clear them and that will eliminate the night blindness.
- If your Vitamin A is decreasing, then a simple prescription of vitamin supplements will improve the night blindness.
- Some people who have low Zinc nutrients in their body claim to have been diagnosed with night blindness as it reduces the movement of enzyme which helps our body to produce Vitamin A. Doctors will most likely prescribed the patient supplements rich in Zinc.
- People who have a genetic illness such as retinitis pigmentosa and experience night blindness, aren’t treatable as it will not respond anymore to corrective lenses or surgery. Hence, they are advised not to drive at night.
Just like other illnesses, night blindness can also be prevented unless you have genetic diseases such as the retinitis pigmentosa and Usher syndrome. If not, then you can start now to monitor and track your sugar levels and have a balanced diet. Avoid foods that are high in fats and eat those that are rich with Vitamins and minerals especially vitamin A. Vitamin A can be found in some but not limited to these foods: Cantaloupes, pumpkins, carrots, potatoes, mangoes, butternut squash, eggs, milk, spinach and collard greens.
What to Do If You Have This Condition?
Night blindness requires changing your lifestyle as you need to take precautionary measures to prevent fatal outcomes. The following lifestyle tips can help you adapt with night blindness.
- Don’t drive at night. It is highly recommended for people who have night blindness not to take risks in driving at night to avoid accidents. As per the National Safety Council, accidents at night are higher than daytime. As all drivers at night depends most on their vision.
- You can purchase an anti-glare glasses that can help you improve your vision. It lowers the eye strain and can make your eyeglasses attractive. Anti-glare or non-glare glasses have the capability to virtually eradicate the reflections from the front and back surface of the glass lenses.
- If you are driving at night, make sure that your headlights are clean so that you can see better. You can also get a prescription for night glasses from your doctor if you really need to drive at night.
- Wearing sunglasses during daytime is also recommended because people with night blindness are also sensitive to light as they can have a hard time adjusting from light to dark and vice versa.
A healthy lifestyle, exercise, right diet, and positive attitude are just some of the ways that can help us prevent any illness including night blindness. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. Being healthy is a must and not an option. So, if you feel that there is something wrong with your body especially your eyes, don’t hesitate to consult your doctor for early diagnosis and prevention.