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What You Should Know About Night Blindness

If you don’t see well while driving at night, there’s a chance you have night blindness. Night blindness, or nyctalopia, is the inability to see well at night or in dim lighting. It’s not considered an eye disease, but rather a symptom of an underlying problem.

Our eye doctor can help diagnose, manage and treat your night blindness so that you can enjoy being out at night again.

Here are 4 things you should know about night blindness:

Causes of Night Blindness

The inability to see well at night can be the result of a condition such as:

Vitamin A Deficiency — Vitamin A helps keep your cornea, the layer at the front of your eye, clear; it’s also an important component of rhodopsin, a protein that enables you to see in low light conditions. Although uncommon in North America, deficiency of this vitamin can induce night blindness.

CataractsA buildup of protein clouds the eye’s lens, leading to impaired vision, especially at night and in poor lighting conditions.

Diabetic RetinopathyDamage to the eyes’ blood vessels and nerves can result in vision loss, including difficulty seeing at night.

GlaucomaThis group of eye diseases is associated with pressure build-up in the eye that damages the optic nerve. Both glaucoma and the medications used to treat it can cause night blindness.

MyopiaAlso called nearsightedness, myopia makes distant objects appear blurry, and patients with it describe a starburst effect around lights at night.

KeratoconusAn irregularly shaped cornea causes blurred vision and may involve sensitivity to light and glare which tend to be worse at night.

Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP)A progressive genetic eye disease which can be associated with other diseases, RP leads to night blindness and peripheral vision loss.

Usher SyndromeThis genetic condition causes both hearing loss and vision loss, including night blindness and RP, mentioned above.

Symptoms of Nyctalopia

Since night blindness is a symptom of some serious vision problems, it’s important to get your eyes checked regularly to ensure that everything is in good working order. Contact your eye doctor as soon as possible if you notice that you don’t see as well in dim light as you used to, such as when driving at night or when adjusting from being outdoors in the sunshine to being indoors.

Symptoms of Night Blindness Include:

  • Reduced contrast sensitivity
  • Difficulty seeing people outdoors at night
  • Difficulty seeing in places with dim lighting, like a movie theater
  • Trouble adapting to the dark while driving
  • Excessive squinting at night
  • Trouble adjusting from bright areas to darker ones

Treatments for Night Blindness

Your eye doctor will want to diagnose the cause of your night blindness in order to treat it. For example, in the rare case of vitamin A deficiency, it can be treated with vitamin supplements and vitamin-A rich foods; myopia can be corrected with eyeglasses or contact lenses. Other conditions may require medications or surgery.

If night blindness is caused by a birth defect, Usher syndrome, or retinitis pigmentosa, low vision aids and devices can help you make the most of your remaining vision.

Prevention

While there is no proven way to prevent night blindness resulting from genetic conditions or birth defects, consuming healthy, nourishing foods and taking certain vitamin supplements may prevent or slow the onset of some eye conditions that cause night blindness.

If you experience poor vision at night or in dim lighting, we can help. Contact Eyeworks in Ft. Worth to schedule your appointment today.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Richard Chu, D.O.

Q: Can you request lenses made from glass? Is glass still used for lenses?

  • A: Yes. Opticians still sometimes use glass for lenses. However, glass is not used very often because they aren’t as safe. If these glass lenses breaks, they can shatters into many pieces and can injure the eye. Glass lenses are much heavier than plastic lenses, so they can make your eyeglasses less comfortable to wear.

Q: Can a coating be added to eyeglasses to protect them from further scratches?

  • A: A protective coating can’t be added to a lens after it’s scratched. The coating is applied when the lens is manufactured and can’t be put on later.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses In Fort Worth, Texas. Visit EYEWORKS for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.

How Can My Child’s Myopia Be Corrected?

At Eyeworks, we help children like yours achieve clear and comfortable vision, so they can succeed at the important things in life.

Methods of Myopia Correction

Contact Lenses

Contacts can be a great choice, especially for physically active children or teens who don’t want to worry about breaking or misplacing their eyeglasses. In some cases of very high myopia, contact lenses can offer clearer vision than glasses.

Corrective contact lenses are usually placed in the eyes upon waking and removed at night before bedtime. There are several types, including: soft contacts, daily disposables, extended wear, and rigid gas permeable (hard) lenses. Navigating through the differences between them can be daunting. Fortunately, if you’re located in Ft. Worth our eye doctor will be happy to guide you. Speak with Dr. Richard Chu to determine whether your child is ready for contact lenses.

Prescription Glasses

Glasses are a popular choice among our younger patients. Choosing from an array of styles makes the process fun and exciting! Allowing the children to be active participants in selecting their eyewear increases the likelihood that they’ll actually wear them. There are strong, flexible and resilient frames which look great and are comfortable too.

The optician can customize the lenses with additions and upgrades like impact-resistant or shatter-proof materials, scratch-resistant and anti-reflective coatings, UV filters, and transition lenses that darken in the sun. For those requiring vision correction for distance and near, we also offer bifocal or multifocal lens prescriptions.

We Can Help Correct Your Child’s Myopia

If you’re located near Ft. Worth, Texas, an eye exam with our optometrist can determine your child’s exact prescription, and give you the opportunity to receive answers to any questions you may have about your child’s eye health and vision. Progressive myopia, where a growing child’s prescription continues to worsen, is why it’s important for myopic children to undergo eye exams at least once a year.

At Eyeworks, our friendly and knowledgeable staff will be happy to recommend the most suitable method of correcting your child’s myopia to meet his or her individual needs. Thanks to the wide range options available, your child will walk away with eyewear that will not only enhance his or her style but will also be a boost of confidence.

Let us help your child see the world in a whole new light. To schedule your child’s annual eye exam or if you have any further questions, contact Eyeworks at 817-346-7077 today.

Implantable Contact Lenses

Effective, fast, & safe procedure to correct severe myopia

When nearsightedness is extreme, it can have serious effects on your quality of life. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 8 million Americans have a vision condition that necessitates wearing glasses or contact lenses. However, when you have severe myopia, prescription eyewear may not be able to provide clear vision. In those cases, implantable contact lenses (ICL) may be an effective treatment. To find out more about this progressive solution for nearsightedness, speak to our eye doctors at Eyeworks.

What are Visian ICL – implantable contact lenses?

Also called phakic intraocular lenses (IOL), Visian implantable contact lenses are surgically implanted in the eye, behind the iris and just in front of your natural lens. These contact lens implants can correct mild to severe myopia, and if your vision changes, they can be removed and replaced. Visian ICL does not affect the cornea in any way, it isn’t felt by the wearer, and it cannot be seen by anyone else.

These implantable contact lenses are made from collamer, a collagen-based material that occurs naturally in the body and is biocompatible with your eyes. Your eye doctor will issue a precise prescription for ICL to correct your myopia, and the lenses work essentially the same way as standard contact lenses do: they focus light onto your retina in a way that sharpens your vision.

Are implantable contact lenses a new option?

No, ICL has been approved for use in Europe since 1997 and in the United States since 2005. During that time, more than 1,000,000 eyes have had Visian ICL inserted by qualified, specialized eye doctors. In fact, since 2006, surgeons in the U.S. Military have performed over 10,000 Vision ICL procedures. Over time, studies have shown that this method of vision correction has an established safety profile.

Who is a candidate for implantable contact lenses?

Visian ICL is designed for people between 21-45 years old with stable vision (defined as a change in refraction of less than 0.5 diopters in one year). Implantable contact lenses are approved for use by the FDA in people who:

  • Require vision correction from -3 to -15 diopters
  • Require myopia reduction from -16 to -20 diopters
  • With or without astigmatism up to 4.0 diopters
  • Are in good health, able to undergo the short implantation procedure and recovery period

Several factors can make you an unsuitable candidate for implantable contact lenses. For example, certain corneal conditions that affect the shape and thickness of the cornea, people who require presbyopia correction, and the presence of chronic dry eye syndrome are all contraindicated for Visian ICL.

What does ICL surgery involve?

One eye will be operated on at a time. To implant the lens, topical numbing drops and IV sedation will generally be used. Then, the surgeon will make tiny incisions in the cornea to enable the insertion of a cartridge that holds the ICL. After inserting the ICL into this cartridge and making sure that it has unfolded completely, the corner of the lens will be tucked behind the iris. At this point, the ICL becomes completely invisible. Next, the surgeon must cut another small incision in the iris to facilitate the circulation of fluid around the lens. Start to finish, the surgical process takes about 10-15 minutes per eye.

What is the recovery process?

Recuperation from the ICL procedure is short. You will be able to see out of the eye immediately and leave the eye clinic within a few hours. There is no need to patch the eye shut. For the first few days after surgery, you will need to insert eye drops to help prevent inflammation and infection. It is critical not to rub your eyes, especially for the first 3-5 days. Afterwards, postoperative eye exams are recommended regularly.

What are the pros and cons of implantable contact lenses?

Pros:

  • ICL can be replaced if your vision prescription changes.
  • Quick, effective results – 95% of patients attained 20/40 vision with implantable contact lenses, and 59% had 20/20 or better after three years.
  • Suitable for people with a thin cornea
  • Gives exceptional night vision
  • ICLs have built-in UV protection, while simultaneously allowing natural light to pass through unaffected.
  • Does not induce dry eye syndrome like LASIK and other refractive laser eye surgeries can.
  • A good choice for people with severe myopia, such as -10 diopters, because they generally cannot get sufficient vision correction with LASIK or other procedures.
  • Visian ICL are foldable, so they can be inserted through a small incision that does not generally require sutures.
  • No more wearing thick eyeglasses or contact lenses from the time you wake up until bedtime.
  • Great ROI – while the implantation procedure may seem costly in the short-term, as a long-term investment it has high value for the price (no more eyeglasses and contact lenses purchases). Also, you may be able to use your FSA funds towards the cost; for more information about financing options, speak to our eye care staff at Eyeworks.

Cons:

  • Because the implantable contact lens is positioned so close to the eye’s natural lens, it may cause cataracts in a small percentage of patients.
  • As with every surgery, the procedure carries a risk of infection.

How can you choose a doctor for implantable contact lenses?

Most importantly, find an eye surgeon who is experienced with phakic IOL surgery. Some questions to ask include:

  • How many ICL procedures have you done?
  • What types of problems can occur?
  • Can you provide me with patient references to contact?
  • What will happen if I am still nearsighted after the procedure?
  • What is the plan for handling my astigmatism?
  • If I need further vision correction treatment after the surgery, is it included in the cost?

Contact our knowledgeable eye care professionals at Eyeworks for more information and to find out if you are a good candidate for implantable contact lenses.


At Eyeworks, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision. Call us today: 817-346-7077 or book an appointment online to see one of our Ft. Worth, River Oaks & Southlake eye doctors.

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