Dr. Jim Martin 09/12/2014

night_driving.jpgNight blindness, officially called Nyctalopia, is an eye condition that many people may have heard of, but still wonder whether or not it exists. The simple answer is that, yes, night blindness is a very real condition, and may be the symptom of eye disease. It may also occur as a primary condition.
What Causes Night Blindness?
Night blindness can be caused by a number of conditions, but is most commonly caused by retinitis pigmentosa. Retinitis pigmentosa is a progressive eye disease in which one of the retinal layers of the eye short circuits. People with this disorder may first experience problems with their night vision that gets progressively worse.
Genetic disorders that are present from birth may cause night blindness that does not get progressively worse. More commonly, night blindness may be caused by cataracts, as a side effect of retinal detachment, or a vitamin A deficiency. Certain medications may cause night blindness as well.
When you see an eye doctor regarding your night blindness, he or she will run a series of tests and ask a series of question to try and find the underlying cause of the night blindness. Finding the cause is important, as it will dictate the treatments you receive for the condition.  

Can Night Blindness Be Treated?

Whether or not night blindness can be treated depends entirely on what is causing the condition. Because night blindness is most commonly a symptom of another underlying issue, treatment of the cause may restore night vision.

For example, in the case of cataracts, surgery to remove the cataracts may restore night vision to its former level. In the case of medications, often times, switching medications will restore the night vision as well. In the case of retinitis pigmentosa, night blindness cannot be reversed.

Genetic, birth-related night blindness has no treatment, however, the condition does not worsen over time, and, because it is present from birth, many children quickly adapt to the level of vision they have available to them.
If you have concerns about night blindness, or any other eye condition, call the professionals at Broome Optical. They will be happy to answer your questions. They will also be happy to provide you with the eye care you need.

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