Night blindness is difficulty seeing in the dark or in low light. One of the most common issues with night blindness is difficulty driving in the evening or at night.
The Retina of the Eye
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Night blindness is caused by disorders or conditions that affect the cells in the retina that are responsible for vision in dim light (cones). Examples include:
Age is the most common factor that contributes to night blindness. Many eye conditions develop as people get older. Other factors that may increase the chance of night blindness include:
Symptoms are difficulty or inability to see in low light or darkness, even with glasses or contact lenses. While driving, this may also occur a few seconds after the bright headlights of an oncoming car have passed.
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A complete eye exam will be done. A blood test can be used to test the amount of vitamin A in your blood.
Treatment depends on the cause of night blindness. Options may include:
Night blindness may require taking extra safety precautions when necessary. This may mean avoiding driving in the evening or at night.
American Optometric Association
Eye Smart—American Academpy of Ophthalmology
Canadian Ophthalmological Society
Cataract in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116240/Cataracts-in-adults. Updated August 31, 2016. Accessed September 29, 2016.
Glaucoma and driving. Glaucoma Research Foundation website. Available at: http://www.glaucoma.org/treatment/glaucoma-and-driving.php. Updated April 1, 2013. Accessed December 9, 2015.
Night blindness. Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: http://my.clevelandclinic.org/services/cole-eye/diseases-conditions/hic-night-blindness. Updated March 18, 2015. Accessed December 9, 2015.
Open-angle glaucoma. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114157/Open-angle-glaucoma. Updated June 2, 2016. Accessed September 29, 2016.
Retinitis pigmentosa. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116916/Retinitis-pigmentosa. Updated September 30, 2014. Accessed December 9, 2015.
Vitamin A. Office of Dietary Supplements website. Available at: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-HealthProfessional. Updated June 5, 2013. Accessed December 9, 2015.
What is low vision? American Academy of Ophthalmology Eye Smart website. Available at: http://www.geteyesmart.org/eyesmart/diseases/low-vision.cfm. Accessed December 9, 2015.
Last reviewed December 2015 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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