Vision and Night Blindness

By Dr. Tarek Ibrahim, Ophthalmologist


Dr. Tarek Ibrahim

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March 03, 2020

A type of vision damage, night blindness is also known as nyctalopia. People who suffer from this have very weak nightly vision or in dimly-lit areas. Although night blindness means that you can’t see at all at night, really all it means is that you have difficulty seeing in the dark.

Ordinarily, some types of this condition are treatable, but not others.


Night blindness develops due to the following conditions:

  • Myopia
  • Glaucoma
  • Blurred vision
  • Cataracts
  • Tunnel vision
  • Usher syndrome which affects vision and hearing
  • Vitamin A deficiency
  • Pancreatic insufficiency
  • High blood sugar levels
  • Diabetes
  • Keratoconus


The No. 1 symptom of night blindness is difficult night vision. One can experience night blindness when one’s eyes move from a bright environment to one of low light. Poor vision can also be experienced when vehicles’ headlights are shone intermittently along with streetlights.

Other causes include:

  • Difficulty seeing objects or furniture in the dark or in a room of low light
  • Difficulty recognizing people in dim or no light
  • Requiring more light to carry out day-to-day chores


Your eye specialist will take down your medical history in detail and examine your eyes to check for night blindness. Your blood sample will be necessary to measure your glucose and Vitamin A levels.

If myopia, Vitamin A deficiency or cataracts have led to your suffering from night blindness, it can be treated by increasing Vitamin A content to your diet. Vitamin A can be found in eggs, fortified milk, eggs, cod liver oil, fortified cereals, orange and yellow vegetables and fruits, spinach and other green leafy vegetables, etc.

With corrective lenses, your day and night vision can improve.

By wearing sunglasses when out in the sun, your eyes can be protected from UV light, which could otherwise damage your eyes further.

In chronic cases, eye surgery may be the solution.

If you suffer from Retinitis pigmentosa, your type of night blindness cannot be cured.

Preventing Night Blindness

If the type of night blindness that you suffer from is due to genetic conditions or birth defects, you cannot prevent its development. However, you can prevent its further damage by monitoring your blood sugar levels and eating nutritious food.

Include in your diet foods that have an abundance of vitamins, antioxidants and minerals, which could play a huge role in preventing cataracts. Foods rich in Vitamin A should also be eaten to lower your chances of developing night blindness.

Orange-coloured foods that are abundant in Vitamin A include:

  • Carrots
  • Cantaloupes
  • Mangoes
  • Pumpkins
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Butternut Squash
  • Collard Greens

What We Can Do for You

As you get out of mid-life and into your sixties, you might find that you’ve been taking life for granted. Somehow something’s changed and you can’t put a finger on what it is. You could begin to feel odd when you can’t see as well as before, or you have a partial vision loss or you can’t see things to your left or right.

It’s normal for eye problems to crop up as we age. When you begin to feel the loss of normal eyesight, that’s when you realize the importance of vision and that it helps give you a good quality of life. Eye surgeons today believe that eye health is something that one should practice from one’s childhood if one wants to lead a complication-free life. You can do this too by following these few principles:

  • Eat a Healthy Diet: Nutritious food will have an overall good effect on your entire system and that includes your eyes. Your eye health is grossly influenced by what you eat—far more than you can envisage.

To enjoy good eye health, eat eggs, citrus fruits, green leafy veggies and nuts. This diet will stave off macular degeneration and cataract and keep your eyes healthy.

  • Undergo Eye Exams Periodically: To make sure your eyes are always health and you aren’t developing eye disease, go in for eye exams regularly. With age, your eyes aren’t as sharp as before. So, a good way of testing the efficiency of your vision is to have a vision test. This will also give you an early indication that you’re on the verge of developing eye diseases like cataract and glaucoma. By detecting this early, your doctor will be able to catch it quickly and prevent its further development. You should have an eye test once a year or if you have any eye complaints, have your eyes checked more often.
  • Lead a Healthy Lifestyle: By leading a healthy lifestyle which includes exercise, you can reach your optimal weight and keep the risk of cardiovascular disease far away from you. By exercising regularly, your eyesight also improves, say studies.

Not just that, exercise can also reduce the risk of diabetes and developing diabetic retinopathy. By doing moderate exercise over a protracted period can bring about a reduction in eye pressure in young adults struck with glaucoma.

By not smoking, you prevent the development of cataract, blindness, macular degeneration,

Glaucoma, Diabetic Retinopathy and Dry Eye Syndrome.

  • Be Alert to Any Changes in You: If you suddenly see a change in your vision, you must see a doctor immediately. Perhaps, your vision isn’t too clear, or you see halos or you have distorted vision. In such cases, have your eyes tested as soon as possible. Don’t go in for self-medication as you could only worsen your condition. 
  • Keep Your Eyes Clean: Wash off all eye makeup before going to bed. Don’t go to bed with eye makeup on or share eye makeup with anyone.
  • Wear Eye Protection Gear: Apart from protecting yourself from the sun by wearing sunglasses, it would help if you apply sun tan lotion to safeguard yourself from UV rays. When you swim, wear goggles as otherwise chlorinated water in the pool can bring about some eye irritation.

Eye doctors are experts in spotting problems of vision. To know the state of your vision, speak to the experts at Eye Consultants. Call us on +971 (0)4 4211299 and schedule an appointment to discuss your doubts.

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