Nyctalopia – Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment Of It!

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By Dr. Amol Wankhede,Ophthalmology

Nyctalopia is commonly known as night blindness. It is a kind of vision impairment. People suffering from Nyctalopia or night blindness have more difficulty seeing in a dark or dimly lit atmosphere. Though everyone has a low vision in dark or low light situations, people suffering from this disease have to face specific difficulties. It does not mean that a person is unable to see at night, in the dark, or in dim lights, but they do have poor vision at night as compared to others.

Nyctalopia is caused by the impaired performance of definite specialized cells in the retina of the eye. There are many common symptoms of it like headache, eye pain, cloudy vision, nausea, difficulty in nearsightedness, and sensitivity towards light. One should not take these symptoms as a result of Nyctalopia as most of the eye conditions share these symptoms.

There are other symptoms that can be more specific towards this eye condition like moving in a dimly lit room becomes a challenge, driving at night becomes really difficult, it becomes difficult to adjust in the dark room after being exposed to the light, takes unusually longer time than others to adjust in the light after being in the dark, difficulty in recognizing faces in a low light atmosphere, etc.

Severity of the condition can interfere with the daily life of the patient. Early diagnosis and treatment can make a big difference.

Causes:

Nyctalopia is a condition in which it becomes difficult for an individual to see at night, in the dark, or in a poorly lit atmosphere. This can be caused due to a number of reasons.

  1. Severe myopia (nearsightedness)
  2. Glaucoma (an eye condition)
  3. Cataract or clouding of the eye lens
  4. Diabetes
  5. Deficiency of vitamin A
  6. Retinitis pigmentosa (eye condition)
  7. Keratoconus (deformation and thinning of cornea)
  8. Medication for Glaucoma

Diagnosis:

Nyctalopia is easy to diagnose and can be done correctly just by looking at the symptoms. Ophthalmologist examines various tests to confirm and analyze the severity and cause of the condition, which will confirm the kind of treatment one needs to go through.

Treatment:

Treatment varies depending upon the cause of the problem.

  1. Wearing specified lenses or glasses.
  2. Increasing intake of food that involves vitamin A.
  3. Eye surgery like LASIK that is used to improve vision by changing the shape of the cornea.
  4. Using eye devices.
  5. Medication.
  6. Termination of cataract.
  7. Use of sunglasses as UV rays can further affect the eyes.

Take Away:

Nyctalopia or night blindness is a condition where it becomes difficult for an individual to have a proper vision at night, in the dark, or in a poorly lit atmosphere. As the diagnosis of the condition depends upon its causes, its not always curable to avoid further damage and risk. For example, due to night blindness, one avoids driving at night or going out in the poorly lit atmosphere where they are exposed to other external risk factors. Hence, one should always consult with the doctor as soon as they experience any symptoms. He/she should discuss with the specialist about their condition and the type of treatment they will be receiving.