"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Shining light on the darkness of night

Animals known for his or her excellent night vision include owls, cats, tarsiers (a small primate native to Southeast Asia) – and even dung beetles.

But humans? not a lot.

Over time, many individuals develop night blindness, also generally known as nyctalopia. This condition makes it difficult to see in dim or dark environments because your eyes can't adjust to changes in brightness or detect light.

What are the risks for those experiencing night blindness?

Night blindness is very troublesome and dangerous when driving. Your eyes may not adjust between darkness and the headlights of oncoming vehicles, other cars may appear out of focus, and your depth perception is impaired, making it difficult to guage distances.

What happens in the attention to cause night blindness?

The ability to see in low-light conditions involves two structures in the attention: the retina and the iris.

The retina, situated behind the attention, incorporates two forms of light-detecting cells called cones and rods. Cones handle color vision and wonderful details, while rods handle vision in dim light.

The iris is the coloured a part of your eye. It incorporates muscles that widen or narrow the opening of your pupil to regulate how much light can enter your eye.

If your irises don't react properly, the pupils can dilate and let in an excessive amount of light, which causes light sensitivity and makes it difficult to see in vibrant light. Or your pupils may stay too small and never let in enough light, making it difficult to see in low light.

What causes night blindness?

Night blindness is just not a disease but a symptom of other conditions. “It's like a wound on your body. Something else causes it,” says Dr. Deakins.

Many conditions may cause night blindness. For example, medications, comparable to antidepressants, antihistamines, and antipsychotics, can affect the dimensions of the pupil and the way much light enters the attention.

Eye conditions that may cause night blindness include:

  • Glaucoma, a disease that damages the attention's optic nerve and blood vessels.
  • Cataracts, cloudy areas within the lens that distort or block the passage of sunshine through the lens
  • Dry eye syndrome.

However, one issue that increases the danger of night blindness that you simply cannot control is age. “Our eyes react more slowly to changes in light as we age, and vision naturally declines over time,” says Dr. Dickens. “The number of rods in our eyes decreases, the pupils become smaller, and the muscles of the irises weaken.”

What helps if you could have night blindness?

If you experience any symptoms of night blindness, avoid driving and get checked by a watch care specialist comparable to an optometrist or ophthalmologist. An eye exam can determine in case your eyeglass prescription must be updated.

“Often a change in prescription is enough to reduce glare when driving at night,” says Dr. Deakins. “You may also need separate glasses with a stronger eye prescription that you only wear when driving at night.”

Adding an anti-reflective coating to your lenses might help reduce the glare from oncoming automotive headlights. However, skip the over-the-counter polarized driving glasses sold at many drugstores. “These can help reduce glare, but they don't address the causes of night blindness,” says Dr. Dickens.

An eye exam can even discover glaucoma or cataracts, which may be treated. Treatments for glaucoma include eye drops, laser treatment, or surgery. Cataracts are corrected by surgery to exchange the cloudy lens with a synthetic lens. Your eye care skilled may help discover and prescribe treatments for dry eye.

Ask your primary care clinician or pharmacist if the medications you are taking may cause night blindness. If so, it is feasible to regulate the dose or switch to a different drug.

Three more ways to make night driving safer

You may take steps to make night driving safer. For example:

  • Wash your glasses lenses frequently. And take them to an optician to have minor scratches removed.
  • Keep either side of your front and rear windshields clear so you'll be able to see as clearly as possible.
  • Dim your dashboard lights, which create glare, and use an evening setting in your rearview mirror.