Volodymyr Melnyk, ophthalmologist of the highest category, ophthalmic surgeon, candidate of medical sciences, medical director of the VISIOBUD clinic, told what night blindness is, why it can develop, what symptoms it manifests itself and how it is treated in modern medicine.

Causes of night blindness

Night blindness, or hemeralopia, is a decrease in visual acuity at dusk or in conditions of insufficient illumination of rooms. That is, natural or artificial lighting deteriorates, visual perception deteriorates. Most often, night blindness develops due to vitamin A deficiency in the human body.

Vitamin A is an antioxidant and fat-soluble vitamin that ensures the production of the protein rhodopsin, or as it is also called visual purpura. Rhodopsin is a visual pigment that allows us to see well in low light conditions and after dark (twilight vision). Some of the rhodopsin molecules are destroyed when our eyes come into contact with light. This is a normal physiological process – in the dark, rhodopsin is restored. But to do this, we need to eat a balanced diet, because every molecule of rhodopsin contains vitamin A.

Good sources of this vitamin are carrots, carrot oil, sweet potatoes, asparagus, red peppers, beef liver, eggs (yolk), broccoli, cabbage, cheese, milk, yogurt, mango.

Among other causes that contribute to the development of night blindness, I highlight:

The disorders, diseases and bad habits described above disrupt the process of absorption and assimilation of vitamin A. Because of this, a deficiency occurs, which in turn leads to a slowdown in the production of the rhodopsin protein by buns and rods (our photoroceptor cells).

Also, night blindness can be a symptom of the development of ophthalmic diseases such as:

Symptoms of night blindness

The development of night blindness is evidenced by several symptoms that can appear together or alone. This:

1. distortion of vision with the onset of darkness: "stripes", "drops", "lightning" appear in front of the eyes, it is difficult to see and clearly distinguish objects;

2. impaired perception of colors, especially the blue and yellow spectrums;

3. Increased sensitivity to bright light: When a person moves from a dark room to a well-lit one, it takes a few minutes for them to adapt to changing lighting. She squints, closes her eyes, sees dark flashing spots;

4. corneal dryness;

5. sensation of a foreign body in the eye or eyes (most often patients associate this body with a grain of sand);

6. Narrowing of lateral or peripheral vision.

The main feature of night blindness is that vision deteriorates only in the evening, with the onset of darkness. During the day, a person sees objects or objects well and clearly.

Prevention and examination

The best prevention of night blindness is, first of all, a balanced diet. Vitamin A should not be deficient, but it should not be in excess either. If you feel that your diet is not balanced, consult your ophthalmologist or family doctor about taking synthetic vitamin A. I do not recommend prescribing vitamin A or beta-carotene to yourself, even if you have all the symptoms of night blindness. The dosage, duration and rationality of taking medications is determined by the doctor. For example, in the presence of cataracts or retinal detachment, vitamins, drops, hardware treatment, etc., will not help improve twilight vision. In this case, laser vision correction (myopia), replacement of the natural lens with an artificial one (cataract), laser coagulation (diabetic retinopathy) are considered.

I also advise you to do a preventive eye exam every year, no matter how well you can see right now. If you have one or more symptoms of night blindness, schedule a visit to an ophthalmologist for the next date. However, try to stay calm. Night blindness does not always require surgery. Perhaps in your case, diet therapy aimed at increasing the level of vitamin A in the body and a course of hardware treatment will be enough.

Take care of yourself and your eyesight!