Night blindness means having difficulty seeing in the dark or in low light. One of the most common issues with night blindness is difficulty driving in the evening or at night.
The Retina of the Eye
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Night blindness is caused by a disorder of the cells in the retina that are responsible for vision in dim light (cones). There may be several common causes:
Factors that may increase your chance of night blindness include:
Symptoms are difficulty or inability to see in low light or darkness. While driving, this may also occur a few seconds after the bright headlights of an oncoming car have passed.
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. An eye exam will be done. A blood test can be used to test the amount of vitamin A in your blood.
Treatment depends on the cause of night blindness. Options may include:
Night blindness may require taking extra safety precautions when necessary. This may mean avoiding driving in the evening or at night.
To help reduce your chance of night blindness:
American Optometric Association
Eye Smart—American Academpy of Ophthalmology
Canadian Ophthalmological Society
Beers, MH, Fletcher AJ, Jones TV, et al. The Merck Manual of Medical Information. 2nd ed. Whitehouse Station, NJ: Merck Research Laboratories; 2003.
Herse P. Retinitis pigmentosa: Visual function and multidisciplinary management. Clin Exp Iptom. 2005;88:5:335-350.
Night blindness. Retina International website. Available at:
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Accessed November 10, 2010.
Last reviewed October 2014 by Michael Woods, MD
Last Updated: 6/30/2013