Night Blindness: Causes and How to Prevent it

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The act of driving is already in itself hazardous. Driving at night increases the risk from these hazards.

Driving at night time is already hard enough as it is. If it weren’t for the lights on the road and on our cars, it could prove to be a fatal experience. How much more dangerous could driving at night be if the drivers were afflicted with eye problems?

One of those problems is night blindness.

In an effort to keep more people safe on the road, let’s explore what night blindness is and discover what causes it and how it can be prevented.

What is Night Blindness?

Night blindness is when people have a hard time seeing in the dark or in low to no light situations. In itself, night blindness is not a disease. Instead, it is a sign of other eye problems that are already present in a person.

When people open their eyes in darkness, their eyes adjust allowing them to see some of their surroundings. In the darkness, the retina of the eyes (or the big black circle in the eye) dilates or gets bigger. When this happens, more light can enter the eye allowing people to somewhat see in the dark.

This light is then received by the retina. This is the tissue part in the back of the eye where certain rods and cone cells are. While the cone cells help people perceive color, it is the rod cells that help people see in the dark.

Oftentimes, these rod cells start to break down and stop functioning fully. This is mostly due to other diseases, conditions, or injuries that a person may have. When this happens, people can no longer see clearly or at all in the dark.

What Causes Night Blindness?

The many underlying issues or conditions that can cause night blindness include:

  • Myopia or nearsightedness – This is the inability to see objects clearly when at a distance. Astigmatism is another eye related condition that can cause night blindness.
  • Glaucoma medications – Glaucoma is a set of eye conditions that damage the optic nerves. This usually manifests when people feel high pressure in the eye. Certain glaucoma medications make a person’s pupils grow smaller, which in turn results in impaired night vision.
  • Cataracts – A cataract is when the normally clear lens of the eye becomes clouded. People with cataracts often experience constant blurry vision, as if they were permanently looking through a fog. This foggy can contribute to night blindness.
  • Diabetes – While people know diabetes as the lack or surplus of sugar in the body, they often forget that this illness can have negative effects on multiple parts of the body. One of them is the eyes. Sugars can eventually block the blood vessels that travel towards the retina of a person. When this happens, the eyes adjust by creating new blood vessels. Regrettably, the newly formed blood vessels end up not working as well as they should, leading to night blindness.
  • Vitamin A deficiency – If a person has low levels of vitamin A in their bodies, then the production of an eye pigment called rhodopsin is inhibited. This eye pigment is responsible for being able to see in the dark.

Night Blindness Treatments and Prevention

Night Blindness Treatments and Prevention

Prescription Glasses

For some eye problems like myopia and astigmatism, the solution is as simple as wearing prescription glasses.

For myopia for instance, the prescription glasses alter where the light hits the retina. The previously unclear vision of objects in a distance is transformed into one that can focus on faraway things and people properly. With the treatment of these eye conditions, so too does night blindness.

All people need to do is visit their eye doctor to get assessed.

It is important to routinely visit the doctor in order to ensure that the prescription being worn is the correct one. A prescription that is either too low or too high can worsen the eye condition.

Watch Glucose Levels

For people with diabetes, the best advice here is to watch the glucose levels. For starters, it is important to follow the orders the doctors gave in order to keep the glucose levels in check.

Bear in mind that the restrictions and orders given by the doctors are never easy. It requires a significant commitment to changing one’s lifestyle and habits, especially in a person’s diet.

Apart from eating right though, regular exercise can also help to keep glucose levels normal. One study has shown that exercising for three days a week has a significant impact on lowering eye pressure and sugar levels.

A combination of following doctor’s orders, eating right, taking the proper medication, and exercising can not only help with diabetes, but also night blindness.

Eating Vitamin A Rich Foods

As mentioned previously, Vitamin A deficiency can cause several problems that may lead to night blindness. The solution is a simple one. Introduce Vitamin A rich foods into your diet.

These foods are typically orange and include things like carrots, pumpkins, and butternut squash. However, orange foods are not the only ones with loads of Vitamin A. These can also be found in other foods like mangoes, eggs, spinach, milk, and many more.

Keep an eye out for more of these Vitamin A foods, and they’ll help to keep your eyes healthy and clear from any night blindness.

Drive Safer at Night

It is already quite risky to drive at night. Driving with night blindness though brings this risk to a whole new level.

The good news is that night blindness can be treated. We hope that the treatments that we have shared above can help people overcome night blindness if they already have it.

For those that don’t though, it is always best to stay on top of your condition and your health. Visit your doctors often, update your prescriptions consistently, and stay healthy as possible so that night blindness never comes into play.

As always, the real ingredient to these preventative tips is the commitment that you have to following them.

Always stay safe on the road, especially at night.

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