Trouble seeing at night means decreased safety on the road once the sun is down. Unfortunately, bad night vision is a real and concerning problem in optometry.
Many don’t realize night blindness is not normal. In fact, it can be caused by several seemingly unrelated medical conditions, like diabetes.
Do you suspect you have bad night vision? Read our list of the top 10 signs to find out if you do.
The Most Common Signs of Bad Night Vision
Although bad night vision can stem from a variety of sources, there are four significant signs indicating you may have nyctalopia.
1. Weak Vision in Low Light
By far the most obvious sign you may have bad night vision is the quality of the vision itself.
If you have trouble seeing at night or in dimly-lighted settings, chances are you have bad night vision.
All humans can’t see as well at night, but the healthy eye adapts to the darkness. The pupils open wider to let in more light, allowing humans to see a tad better.
Having nyctalopia means even the ability to make out silhouettes or forms others can perceive is difficult. Objects may also appear blurry.
If you experience this difficulty and have one of the other signs listed here, consider getting your vision checked by an expert.
2. Difficult Adapting to Light Levels
It takes human eyes an extensive time to adjust to the darkness completely. In fact, it takes about half an hour of complete darkness for most eyes to adjust to the new surroundings.
While this is a slow process for the healthy eye, bad night vision makes the transition from light to dark spaces even harder. Many individuals with nyctalopia will go temporarily “blind” when traveling from a bright space to a dim one.
Additionally, those with night blindness may not see in dimly-lit areas as quickly or as clearly as others.
3. Difficulty Driving at Night
A third common sign of bad night vision is trouble driving after sunset.
Part of this experience stems from the eye’s inability to make out shapes as well as other individuals can. However, another part comes from the constant fluctuation between levels of brightness.
Headlights and streetlights with intermittent spaces of darkness make it difficult for those with nyctalopia to see well enough to drive safely. The constant fluctuation coupled with the difficulty seeing in darkness make driving a very uncomfortable ordeal.
Do you see halos or glares from light sources in the dark? If so, this may be a sign of bad night vision.
Bright circles surrounding lights can derive from several common eye problems or surgeries. However, seeing them indicates that the eye is unable to focus light and process it correctly.
As you can imagine, this can have detrimental effects on nighttime activities.
Other Signs and Causes
Chances are you if you have one or more of the signs discussed above, you have bad night vision. However, night vision can be impacted by more than visual cues.
If you’re worried about seeing at night, consider these other signs and causes of nyctalopia.
5. Lack of Vitamins
Believe it or not, what you eat affects your vision during those wee hours of the night.
If you do not eat foods containing vitamin A regularly and you have trouble seeing at night, you most likely have bad night vision. The good news is that it may be reversed by supplementing the diet with vitamin A.
High blood sugar impacts the eyes. Over time, the blood vessels and nerves in the eyes become damaged. Specifically, the light-sensitive tissue in the retina is significantly damaged.
The retina is in charge of converting light into readable signals for the brain. When the blood vessels leak or hemorrhage, the images are distorted.
The result is bad night vision.
Because this eye disease is so common among diabetics, it’s recommended that diabetic individuals have a check-up at least once a year. Further, if any difficulty seeing at night occurs, it’s vital diabetics speak to a specialist.
If you notice halos around light sources or you have generally blurred vision, it’s possible you have cataracts. Cataracts cloud the lens, distorting the image being seen.
As you can imagine, this drastically reduces visibility at night. Individuals with cataracts may see halos and find it’s very difficult to make out anything in the dark.
One of the most common causes of blurry vision is nearsightedness. Even during the day, nearsightedness affects the clarity of images.
During nighttime, the eye not only has to detect objects in a healthy manner, but it also faces the disadvantage of not being able to make out objects far away. As a result, night vision is drastically reduced.
Glaucoma occurs when the optic nerve is damaged. It results in blind or blurry spots, which can become permanent and eventually lead to total blindness.
Researchers are unsure what causes glaucoma, but the symptoms it displays affect night vision. As with nearsightedness, the blurred vision makes seeing at night doubly difficult.
10. Retinitis Pigmentosa
Retinitis pigmentosa is a rare genetic disorder. The disease causes the retina’s tissue to break down, inhibiting the photoreceptors. These cells are responsible for converting light into signals that the brain detects.
Individuals with retinitis pigmentosa have difficulty seeing at night due to the lack of photoreceptors. This condition usually presents itself as night blindness before affecting daytime vision.
Enhance Your Vision
Although it’s normal not to see very clearly in the dark, thousands of individuals unknowingly suffer from bad night vision.
If you have difficulties driving at night, experience blurred vision, are unable to make out individuals or objects in the dark that others can see or have a health condition that could affect your vision, it’s best to receive a checkup.
Our company has several offices located throughout Idaho, and our optometrists and staff are happy to help patients. Schedule an appointment at your convenience to ensure your eyes are seeing clearly once the moon rises.