Living with night blindness

Night blindness, or nyctalopia, is where your eyes don't adapt well to low-light conditions. That could be a dark room or darkness at night. There are different causes of night blindness, including a range of eye conditions, vitamin A deficiency, and sometimes near-sightedness.

If you have night blindness, some everyday tasks like driving in the dark can be more challenging. There might be treatment available for the cause of your night blindness, but if not, there are some adjustments you can make to adapt to living with the symptoms.

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Managing night blindness

There are different ways to manage night blindness, depending on the cause. What works for you will depend on your underlying condition.

  • Corrective lenses – If your night blindness is due to myopia (near-sightedness), corrective glasses or contact lenses could help minimise the effects.

  • Surgery – If you have cataracts, replacing the affected lens should improve your night vision.

  • Vitamin A - If your night blindness is due to vitamin A deficiency, diet changes and supplements can help. 

Although it isn't always possible to cure the underlying cause of night blindness, there are ways to improve your eye health:

  • Have regular eye exams to detect eye diseases such as glaucoma and retinitis pigmentosa early. The NHS recommends visiting an optician every two years.

  • Wear sunglasses or a wide-brimmed hat to protect your eyes from UV damage on sunny days. This also makes it easier for your eyes to adjust when moving from bright conditions to dim light.

  • Eating a healthy balanced diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables can support your eye health.

If you have night blindness, you should still live an independent lifestyle. You may find everyday tasks easier if you have plenty of bright and even lighting around your home.

Going for regular eye tests is important to ensure that eye conditions that cause night blindness are diagnosed early.

Driving with night blindness

Night blindness can cause vision problems that make driving at night particularly difficult. You might have trouble with glare from bright lights or see halos around oncoming headlights.

You will need to report your night blindness to the DVLA. You may be able to continue driving if your vision meets the DVLA's standards for visual acuity and field of vision. You'll need to get medical advice from your ophthalmologist about whether you can drive.

If you're not able to drive, look into your other options for travelling. Explore public transport options near you or use taxis.

Frequently asked questions

Get in touch

You can contact us to find out about services and support tailored to your individual needs.

Medically reviewed by: The Royal College of Ophthalmologists on 28/07/2022

Edited by: Nick Astbury FRCS FRCOphth FRCP
Clinical Associate Professor

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists champions excellence in the practice of ophthalmology and is the only professional membership body for medically qualified ophthalmologists. The RCOphth is unable to offer direct advice to patients. If you’re concerned about the health of your eyes, you should seek medical advice from your GP, optometrist or ophthalmologist.

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