The topic of night blindness is very common in eye care centers across the country. You are more likely to suffer from night blindness when transitioning from a bright environment to one with low light levels. You are also likely to experience poor vision when driving, mostly due to the intermittent brightness of headlights and streetlights on the road. Having night blindness (nyctalopia) may be a sign of untreated or under-treated myopia and/or astigmatism, advanced cataracts or ocular disease like retinitis pigmentosa. Most of these diseases cause degeneration of the rods of the retina, which are responsible for vision in dim light or scotopic vision. Medications may also be the culprit like some used in the treatment of glaucoma or even vitamin A or zinc deficiency. Spending a day in intense sunlight may also affect your scotopic vision for a few days.


Treatments for night blindness can range from new glasses or contacts to the addition of supplements to your diet or dietary changes. Orange-colored foods are excellent sources of vitamin A such as cantaloupes, sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkins, butternut squash, and mangoes. Spinach, kale, milk, and eggs also contain vitamin A.  For conditions like retinitis pigmentosa there are no treatments at the present time but research is being done to mitigate the damage from these ocular disease states.

Dr. Matthew Ozment