(Nyctanopia; Nyctalopia; Day Sight; Nocturnal Amblyopia)
Night blindness means having 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.
Night blindness is caused by a disorder of the cells in the retina that are responsible for vision in dim light (cones). There may be several common causes:
A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition. Some risk factors for night blindness include:
Symptoms are difficulty or inability to see in low light or darkness. While driving, this may also occur a few seconds after the bright headlights of an oncoming car have passed.
A doctor will give you a medical examination to determine the cause of your night blindness. Some of the things a doctor might do are:
Depending on the reason for your night blindness, treatment will address the specific cause. Treatments generally include:
If you experience night blindness, it is important to take safety precautions, like not driving in the evening or at night.
Eating a diet with adequate amounts of vitamin A may help prevent night blindness.
Follow your doctor's advice to keep chronic illnesses under good control
National Eye Institute
Canadian Ophthalmological Society
Beers, MH, Fletcher AJ, Jones TV, et al. The Merck Manual of Medical Information. 2nd ed. Whitehouse Station, NJ: Merck Research Laboratories; 2003.
Herse P. Retinitis pigmentosa: visual function and multidisciplinary management. Clin Exp Iptom . 2005;88:5:335-350.
Retina International. Night blindness. Retina International website. Available at: http://www.retina-international.org/index.php?menuid=42 . Accessed November 10, 2010.
Last reviewed June 2013 by Michael Woods, MD