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Eye Health and Night Blindness

Night blindness (also called nyctalopia) is the inability to see well at night or in poor light. It is not a disease, but rather a symptom of an underlying disorder or problem, especially untreated nearsightedness.

What Causes Night Blindness?

Night blindness is due to a disorder of the cells in the retina that are responsible for vision in dim light. It has many causes, including:

  • Nearsightedness
  • Glaucoma
  • Glaucoma medications that work by constricting the pupil
  • Cataracts
  • Diabetes
  • Retinitis pigmentosa
  • Vitamin A deficiency
  • Keratoconus

In order to determine what is causing night blindness, the eye doctor will perform a thorough eye exam and may order any of a number of specialized tests.

How Is Night Blindness Treated?

Treatment for night blindness will depend on its cause. Treatment may be as simple as a new prescription for your eyeglasses or switching glaucoma drugs, or it may require surgery if it's the result of cataracts.
 


 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Brian S. Boxer Wachler, MD on November 06, 2013

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