The best treatment for night blindness, where patients have trouble seeing in low-light environments, depends on what is causing the problem. In some cases, it may be the result of a congenital disorder, in which case there may not be any available treatments. Other cases may be treatable with medications, surgery, or changes to prescriptions. Patients who notice vision changes of any kind, including decreased acuity at night, should contact an ophthalmologist for evaluation. It is important to get prompt treatment because vision damage can be fast and irreversible.
Some potential causes can include myopia, cataracts, medications used to treat conditions like glaucoma, vitamin A deficiency, and retinitis pigmentosa. A doctor will need to evaluate the patient thoroughly to collect as much information as possible about the cause. This can include testing for other health conditions to check for potential complications.
In the case of myopia, fixing a prescription should help the patient see more clearly in poor light. Patients may notice other vision problems like difficulty driving, trouble focusing on distant objects, and eye strain after working. The new prescription should clear up all of these problems and increase patient comfort. Cataracts obscuring vision and causing night blindness may require surgical treatment. After removal, the patient will see more clearly, including in dim light. Follow-up care is necessary to monitor the patient's eyes and check for signs of degeneration.
Night blindness caused by glaucoma medications can be treated with adjustment to the drugs or dosage to see if it is possible to resolve the issue. The goal is to correct the patient's vision problems while still keeping the glaucoma under control. This may require follow-up visits to check on the patient's eye health and make sure the treatment is still effective. Patients can also try ingesting more vitamin A to address a deficiency, in which case they may experience improvements in their night vision.
For patients with night blindness caused by congenital or incurable conditions, the focus is on supportive care. Such patients may benefit from medications, adjustments to their living environments, and lifestyle changes like not driving at night for safety reasons. Patients with declining vision may find devices like anti-glare screens and corrective lenses useful for helping them see more effectively. They can also start learning how to use adaptive tools and devices so they can adjust to low vision while their eyes are still relatively healthy. This makes the transition less traumatic.