Do you find yourself bumping into furniture and doorways when the lights are out at night? How about being able to clearly see faces when it’s dark out? Or how about having trouble driving when winter comes and the nights are longer? These may all be signs of nyctalopia, more commonly known as night blindness.
The American Optometric Association describes night blindness as not being able to see outside at night under starlight or moonlight, or in dimly lit interior areas such as movie theaters or restaurants.
While most people experience temporary vision adjustments when suddenly moving from a bright space into a dark one, night blindness is usually a lingering sensation and a symptom of other vision problems. The American Academy of Ophthalmology lists the following conditions as contributors to having difficulty seeing in the dark or in dim light:
- Myopia (nearsightedness)
- Glaucoma (a change in medication could help with this)
- Cataracts (surgery to remove cataracts can help to improve night blindness)
- Vitamin Adeficiency (can be corrected by eating carrots, cantaloupe, pumpkin, green-leafy vegetables, and sweet potatoes – all foods very high in Beta Carotene/vitamin A)
Interestingly, our day vision and night vision changes fairly dramatically. At night, we become essentially colorblind and typically only see shades of gray instead of the full-color spectrum (without any light source). The center of our vision is less clear, while our peripheral vision becomes better, allowing us to see objects moving.
If you find that it is becoming harder to see at night, schedule a visit with your eye-care professional here at All About Eyes to see if there are remedies available to you.