Night Blindness: A Real Disease?

A smiling optometrist

Night blindness or nyctalopia is the difficulty to see at night or in dim lighting. When it’s dark, those with nyctalopia could barely see a thing, a dangerous type of impairment especially if you have to drive.

Did you know it is not a disease in itself but a symptom? Here are quick facts about how the eye works and why people suffer night blindness:

1. There are about 100 million sensory cells inside the retina called rods, which enable the eye to detect light. Any damage to these rods canA smiling optometrist cause night blindness. When something blocks light from reaching the rods, that would also lead to nyctalopia.

2. Unfortunately, some eye issues can bring forth night blindness. To zero in on your medical problem, a trip to a good eye clinic such as in Maple Grove, MN is necessary. They’ll be ruling out possibilities like cataract, which hinders light from getting to the rods, side effects of eye medication or surgery, glaucoma, diabetes, retinitis pigmentosa and nearsightedness.

3. In some cases, problems in the rods are due toVitamin A deficiency. Vitamin A enables the human body to produce Rhodopsin, a protein that controls the light sensitivity of the rods.  Rhodopsin transforms light into an electrical signal.

4. Carrots are excellent sources of Vitamin A. It is also found in dark leafy vegetables, pumpkin, apricots, and sweet potato. Including these super foods in your diet can do a lot to keep your overall vision in top form.

5. The underlying cause will determine the appropriate treatment for nyctalopia. Surgery will be performed if cataracts are the culprit. Or you might feel a significant difference after prescription glasses or medication.

Nyctalopia merits immediate medical attention. The National Safety Council reports that night driving is three times more dangerous than daytime driving. People who have night blindness do not lose their night vision entirely but it would be impaired. For safety reasons, it’s best to hand over the keys to someone else.


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