When optometrists talk about night vision, we don’t mean high-tech goggles that allow military personnel to see in pitch darkness. Instead, we are referring to the photoreceptors in our eyes, called rods, that convert dim amounts of light into electrical activity, effectively allowing us to see after the sun goes down (albeit not as well as if we all had night vision goggles). This post will cover everything there is to know about night vision and how eye exams in Cape Cod can help you see better at nighttime.
Why does night vision worsen?
Millions of Americans suffer from worsening night vision or night blindness, and the causes behind it vary from person to person. Here are a few of the most common reasons for poor night vision:
- Cataracts: The most common reason behind poor night vision is cataracts. As we age, the cells inside our eye lens start to die, which leads to a buildup of debris that clouds the eye. It doesn’t hurt, but it makes it significantly harder to see, because cataracts distort the light coming into the eye. Folks with this problem often see halos around lights at nighttime.
- Lack of vitamin A and zinc: Your mom always told you to eat your carrots to help your eyesight, and she knew what she was talking about! Foods rich in vitamin A, like carrots and leafy vegetables, help keep the retina healthy. Zinc is also proven to help keep our eyes strong, so be sure to eat plenty of beef, poultry, beans and nuts.
- Sunlight exposure: Too much sunlight can lead to premature cataract development. Be sure to always wear sunglasses when you’re out and about in the middle of the day!
- Diabetes: Over time, high blood sugar damages the blood vessels and nerves in our eyes, which can lead to a condition called retinopathy. Anyone who has diabetes or who’s at risk for developing it should talk to their doctor as soon as possible.
What can I do about my poor night vision?
The good news is that poor night vision isn’t necessarily something you’ll have to live with for the rest of your life. Consider the options below if you want to return your night vision to where it once was:
- Surgery: It’s not the end of the world if your night vision is bad because of cataracts. Thanks to advanced modern medicine, a surgeon can remove those clouded lenses and replace them with an artificial intraocular lens.
- Change your diet: As mentioned above, your diet has a direct correlation with your eyesight. Switching the foods you eat and getting more beneficial nutrients can do a lot to improve both your night vision and your daytime vision.
- See a doctor: Last, but certainly not least, go to see an optometrist! An eye doctor is the only person who can help with your vision problems and ensure that you’re wearing the correct glasses or contacts.
If you’re concerned about your night vision (or your vision in general), come see our professionals at Bayview Optometrics for eye exams in Cape Cod! We can diagnose and develop a treatment plan for a variety of vision problems.