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What You Should Know About Night Blindness

If you don’t see well while driving at night, there’s a chance you have night blindness. Night blindness, or nyctalopia, is the inability to see well at night or in dim lighting. It’s not considered an eye disease, but rather a symptom of an underlying problem.

Our eye doctor can help diagnose, manage and treat your night blindness so that you can enjoy being out at night again.

Here are 4 things you should know about night blindness:

Causes of Night Blindness

The inability to see well at night can be the result of a condition such as:

Vitamin A Deficiency — Vitamin A helps keep your cornea, the layer at the front of your eye, clear; it’s also an important component of rhodopsin, a protein that enables you to see in low light conditions. Although uncommon in North America, deficiency of this vitamin can induce night blindness.

CataractsA buildup of protein clouds the eye’s lens, leading to impaired vision, especially at night and in poor lighting conditions.

Diabetic RetinopathyDamage to the eyes’ blood vessels and nerves can result in vision loss, including difficulty seeing at night.

GlaucomaThis group of eye diseases is associated with pressure build-up in the eye that damages the optic nerve. Both glaucoma and the medications used to treat it can cause night blindness.

MyopiaAlso called nearsightedness, myopia makes distant objects appear blurry, and patients with it describe a starburst effect around lights at night.

KeratoconusAn irregularly shaped cornea causes blurred vision and may involve sensitivity to light and glare which tend to be worse at night.

Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP)A progressive genetic eye disease which can be associated with other diseases, RP leads to night blindness and peripheral vision loss.

Usher SyndromeThis genetic condition causes both hearing loss and vision loss, including night blindness and RP, mentioned above.

Symptoms of Nyctalopia

Since night blindness is a symptom of some serious vision problems, it’s important to get your eyes checked regularly to ensure that everything is in good working order. Contact your eye doctor as soon as possible if you notice that you don’t see as well in dim light as you used to, such as when driving at night or when adjusting from being outdoors in the sunshine to being indoors.

Symptoms of Night Blindness Include:

  • Reduced contrast sensitivity
  • Difficulty seeing people outdoors at night
  • Difficulty seeing in places with dim lighting, like a movie theater
  • Trouble adapting to the dark while driving
  • Excessive squinting at night
  • Trouble adjusting from bright areas to darker ones

Treatments for Night Blindness

Your eye doctor will want to diagnose the cause of your night blindness in order to treat it. For example, in the rare case of vitamin A deficiency, it can be treated with vitamin supplements and vitamin-A rich foods; myopia can be corrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses. Other conditions may require medications or surgery.

If night blindness is caused by a birth defect, Usher syndrome, or retinitis pigmentosa, low vision aids and devices can help you make the most of your remaining vision.

Prevention

While there is no proven way to prevent night blindness resulting from genetic conditions or birth defects, consuming healthy, nourishing foods and taking certain vitamin supplements may prevent or slow the onset of some eye conditions that cause night blindness.

If you experience poor vision at night or in dim lighting, we can help. Contact Silicon Valley Eye Physicians in Sunnyvale to schedule your appointment today.

Frequently Asked Questions with Silicon Valley Eye Physicians

Q: Can you request lenses made from glass? Is glass still used for lenses?

  • A: Opticians still sometimes use glass for lenses. However, glass is not used very often because they aren’t as safe. If these glass lenses breaks, they can shatters into many pieces and can injure the eye. Glass lenses are much heavier than plastic lenses, so they can make your eyeglasses less comfortable to wear.

Q: Can a coating be added to eyeglasses to protect them from further scratches?

  • A: A protective coating can’t be added to a lens after it’s scratched. The coating is applied when the lens is manufactured and can’t be put on later.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Sunnyvale, California. Visit Silicon Valley Eye Physicians for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

What Can You Expect from Myopia Control?

Myopia (AKA nearsightedness) is extremely common, with an estimated one out of every two people having it. It is caused when the shape of your eye is elongated, similar to a football shape, or when the cornea is curved too steeply. As a result of these irregularities, things in the distance appear blurry.

At our Sunnyvale eye clinic, we diagnose myopia regularly with an eye exam.

What’s Wrong with Regular Myopia Treatment?

Fortunately for the millions of adults and children who are nearsighted, myopia is usually corrected easily with glasses, contact lenses or sometimes, surgery. However, myopia, especially when it is progressive and leads to high vision prescriptions, can also increase your risks of future eye problems, such as glaucoma, cataracts and retinal detachment. So while eyeglasses can give nearsighted people sharp vision, the effects of this method of myopia treatment are limited. In contrast, myopia control can offer long-lasting benefits.

Introducing Myopia Control

Introducing myopia control – an approach that aims to slow the progression of myopia in children. While there is no way to totally prevent a child from becoming nearsighted, myopia management can stop it from getting worse. Subsequently, the child’s eye health as an adult can be protected.

Types of Myopia Management

There are various methods of myopia control, including some self-help measures that you can take:

  • Outdoor activity: Studies have linked too much screen time, on computers or any type of digital devices, to myopia progression. Encouraging children to spend more time playing outdoors may help slow the deterioration of nearsightedness.
  • Low-dose atropine eye drops: These drops may offer myopia control when given to children aged 5-18, in small doses for two to three years.
  • Multifocal contact lenses: Kids age 6-12 have shown positive results when wearing soft multifocals for myopia control. It’s believed that blurring side vision with these specialty contact lenses can slow eye growth and limit nearsightedness.
  • Orthokeratology: Ortho-k lenses are specialty contacts worn overnight to correct blurred vision during the daytime. They work by flattening the cornea as you sleep. Although ortho-k lenses only improve vision temporarily, it is believed that some permanent benefits on myopia progression may occur.

Benefits of Myopia Control

There are three primary long-term benefits of myopia management:

  1. Sharper, improved vision, because nearsighted adults and children have better visual performance when the degree of myopia is mild.
  2. Improved results from future surgical myopia correction, such as laser eye surgery, because the lower the myopia is – the fewer the surgical enhancements that are needed.
  3. Reduced risk of visual impairment from eye health problems in the future.

If your nearsighted child’s eye exams consistently lead to a stronger vision prescription, it’s time to look into myopia control. Contact our Sunnyvale optometry office to book a consultation.

At Silicon Valley Eye Physicians, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 408-739-6200 or book an appointment online to see one of our Sunnyvale eye doctors.

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How Can My Child’s Myopia Be Corrected?

At Silicon Valley Eye Physicians, we help children like yours achieve clear and comfortable vision, so they can succeed at the important things in life.

Methods of Myopia Correction

Contact Lenses

Contacts can be a great choice, especially for physically active children or teens who don’t want to worry about breaking or misplacing their eyeglasses. In some cases of very high myopia, contact lenses can offer clearer vision than glasses.

Corrective contact lenses are usually placed in the eyes upon waking and removed at night before bedtime. There are several types, including: soft contacts, daily disposables, extended wear, and rigid gas permeable (hard) lenses. Navigating through the differences between them can be daunting. Fortunately, if you’re located in Sunnyvale our eye doctor will be happy to guide you. Speak with Dr. David Mark to determine whether your child is ready for contact lenses.

Prescription Glasses

Glasses are a popular choice among our younger patients. Choosing from an array of styles makes the process fun and exciting! Allowing the children to be active participants in selecting their eyewear increases the likelihood that they’ll actually wear them. There are strong, flexible and resilient frames which look great and are comfortable too.

The optician can customize the lenses with additions and upgrades like impact-resistant or shatter-proof materials, scratch-resistant and anti-reflective coatings, UV filters, and transition lenses that darken in the sun. For those requiring vision correction for distance and near, we also offer bifocal or multifocal lens prescriptions.

We Can Help Correct Your Child’s Myopia

If you’re located near Sunnyvale, California, an eye exam with our optometrist can determine your child’s exact prescription, and give you the opportunity to receive answers to any questions you may have about your child’s eye health and vision. Progressive myopia, where a growing child’s prescription continues to worsen, is why it’s important for myopic children to undergo eye exams at least once a year.

At Silicon Valley Eye Physicians, our friendly and knowledgeable staff will be happy to recommend the most suitable method of correcting your child’s myopia to meet his or her individual needs. Thanks to the wide range options available, your child will walk away with eyewear that will not only enhance his or her style but will also be a boost of confidence.

Let us help your child see the world in a whole new light. To schedule your child’s annual eye exam or if you have any further questions, contact Silicon Valley Eye Physicians at 408-739-6200 today.