Know the basics
What is day blindness?
Day blindness, or hemeralopia, is a visual condition that is the inability to see in bright light. It can also be described as insufficient adaptation to bright light. It is the exact opposite of nyctalopia (night blindness).
In hemeralopia, daytime vision gets worse, characterized by photoaversion (dislike/avoidance of light) rather than photophobia (eye discomfort/pain in light) which is typical of inflammations of the eye. In hemeralopia, the nighttime vision largely remains unchanged, hence many patients feel they see better at dusk than in the daytime.
How common is day blindness?
This condition can occur at any age, but it is considered as more popular in the old because older adults have a greater risk of developing cataracts.
However, it can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.
What are the symptoms of day blindness?
It is believed that signs and symptoms may vary on an individual basis for each patient. Symptoms include weak vision in light, difficulty seeing during driving, and slow vision adaption between bright and dim light conditions.
When should I see my doctor?
Early diagnosis and treatment can stop this condition from worsening and prevent another medical emergency, so talk to your doctor as soon as possible to prevent this serious condition.
If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consulting with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.
What causes day blindness?
Hemeralopia is known to occur in several eye conditions. It can also be caused by a rare genetic condition called Cohen Syndrome (aka Pepper Syndrome). Another cause of hemeralopia is brain injury.
In rare cases, it may develop complications such as hemeralopia, pigmentary chorioretinitis, optic atrophy or retinal/iris coloboma, leaving a serious effect on the person’s vision.
What increases my risk for day blindness?
You may have higher risks for this condition if you are in these following conditions:
- Older adults have a greater risk of developing cataracts. Seniors are therefore more likely to have day blindness due to cataracts than children or young adults.
- In some places of the world where vitamin A deficiency is common, it can also lead to day blindness. Vitamin A, also called retinol, plays a role in transforming nerve impulses into images in the retina. The retina is a light-sensitive area in the back of your eye.
- Patients who have pancreatic insufficiency, such as individuals with cystic fibrosis, have difficulty absorbing fat and are at a greater risk of having vitamin A deficiency because vitamin A is fat-soluble. This puts them at greater risk for developing day blindness.
- People who have high blood glucose, or sugar, levels or diabetes also have a higher risk of developing eye diseases, such as cataracts.
Diagnosis & treatment
The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.
How is day blindness diagnosed?
If your doctor suspects that you may experience this condition, a physical examination will be performed, then he/she will ask your medical history and some tests will be also recommended by your doctor to detect day blindness. Some common tests may be ordered such as: blood tests to measure the level of your vitamin A and glucose in your blood, etc.
How is day blindness treated?
Depending on the current severity of your condition, your doctor will suggest some of treatment options below:
- Removing the cataracts: Clouded portions of your eye’s lens are known as cataracts. Cataracts can be removed through surgery. Your surgeon will replace your cloudy lens with a clear, artificial lens. Your day blindness will improve significantly after surgery if cataracts are the underlying cause.
- Vitamin A supplements: If your vitamin A levels are low, your doctor might recommend vitamin supplements. Take the supplements exactly as directed. Most people in developed nations don’t have vitamin A deficiency because they have access to proper nutrition.
Genetic conditions that cause day blindness aren’t treatable. The genetic defect that causes pigment to build up in the retina doesn’t respond to corrective lenses or surgery.
Lifestyle changes & home remedies
What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage day blindness?
To reduce the risks of day blindness, you should eat foods rich in antioxidant vitamins and minerals, which may help prevent cataracts. Also, choose foods that contain high levels of vitamin A to reduce your risk of day blindness. Certain orange-colored foods are excellent sources of vitamin A, including:
- Sweet potatoes
- Butternut squash
If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.
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