How An Eye Doctor Can Help With Night Blindness

How An Eye Doctor Can Help With Night Blindness

Do you struggle with the ability to see at night or in dimly lit areas? Do you have issues with adjusting from low to high light conditions such as the headlights of oncoming cars when driving at night? If so, then you might be struggling with night blindness.

Not to be confused with literal blindness, night blindness, which is also known as Nyctalopia, is not a condition in and of itself, but is a symptom of an underlying condition affecting your retina. Here is how your optometrist will determine if your symptoms are those of night blindness and what the root cause might be.

Understanding Nyctalopia: Symptoms and Testing

There are several underlying conditions that could manifest the symptoms of night blindness:  

  • Myopia, also known as nearsightedness, can cause symptoms of poor night vision.
  • Cataracts, which are a clouding of the eye lens can cause problems seeing at night.
  • Glaucoma medications can restrict the pupil causing vision loss in low light.
  • Diabetes can cause cataracts which clouds the lens.
  • Retinitis pigmentosa is a group of conditions affecting the retina and can contribute to Nyctalopia.
  • Vitamin A deficiency can cause you to have a difficult time seeing poor light.

Although the conditions listed above can cause many different symptoms, some that are related directly to poor night vision are:

  • Blurred vision while driving at night is one of the most common issues
  • Difficulty adjusting from dark to light conditions and vice versa 
  • Central field of vision blurred in low light conditions, such as theatres 
  • Headaches 
  • Halos 
  • Light sensitivity 
  • Eye pain 

During a comprehensive eye exam, your eye doctor will conduct a number of minimally invasive and thorough tests to help determine what might be causing your difficulty seeing at night. Some of the ways they will do this are:

  • By going over your medical history and possible contributing risk factors.
  • A contrast sensitivity chart will be used to determine the quality of your vision in dark settings. This chart contains rows of text in various shades of gray against a white background. You will be asked to read the letters in the chart.
  • In some cases, bloodwork may be required so that your optometrist can see if your vitamin A and glucose levels are low.
  • Because night blindness is a symptom of a bigger problem, your optometrist will conduct a comprehensive eye exam to narrow down the root cause. It could be as simple as a vitamin A deficiency or something more serious, like cataracts, so your treatment will be dependent on the outcome of the exam. 

An Optometrist’s Recommendations for Preventing Night Blindness 

While night blindness cannot be “cured” on its own, there are many preventive measures you can take to ensure you don’t develop the underlying conditions that cause it. Having regularly scheduled eye exams with your Calgary optometrist will ensure any underlying conditions do not go undetected for long. Also, eating foods rich in Vitamin A such as spinach, squash, sweet potatoes, and carrots can ensure you do not develop a deficiency that could contribute to night blindness.

If you are having trouble seeing at night or in other low light conditions, or are experiencing any of the symptoms related to night blindness, reach out to the thorough and proficient team at Specs in the City for all of your vision care needs by calling 1-403-252-2020 or entering your contact information in the form on this page.


Q: What measures can I take to manage night blindness?
A: Wear sunglasses when in high light conditions, avoid driving at night wherever possible, and book in for your SE Calgary Eye Exam at Specs in the City.

Q: Is Nyctalopia permanent?
A: Depending on the underlying condition that is causing it, it may or may not be permanent. Scheduling an eye exam with your Calgary eye doctor will determine if your night blindness is permanent or not.

Q: Is night blindness age related?
A: A lot of the underlying conditions that cause night blindness are age-related, so in some cases yes, it can be. However a lot of the underlying conditions can be genetic, so age alone does not play a role in night blindness. Your Calgary Optometrist will check for age related factors that may increase your risk for certain conditions.

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