Night blindness

Labelled Diagram of the Eye

Labelled diagram of the structure of the retina

Night Blindness is also known as Nyctalopia (medical name).


Night Blindness is the inability, or severely reduced ability, to see in low-light levels, such as at dusk and at night.

Note that those affected can, in the absence of other conditions, see to a normal extent during typical "daytime" light-levels .

Night Blindness is generally due to a disorder of the rods, which are the cells in the retina of the eye that are most important for vision in dim light (i.e. low-light levels, such as occur at night).

There are many possible reasons for a disorder of the rods, leading to Night Blindness.

Examples include:

  • Congenital (since birth) Night Blindness
  • Deficiency of Vitamin A
  • Malabsorption - if it adversely affects absorption of Vitamin A
  • Retinitis pigmentosa
  • Sorsby's fundus dystrophy (a genetic eye inflammatory disorder.)
  • Pathological myopia (myopia ="short-sightedness")
  • Peripheral cortical cataract
  • Oguchi's disease


See also, for comparison, Day Blindness (also known as Hemeralopia).

More about Ophthalmology:

This section includes short definitions of many diseases, disorders, and conditions of the eyes and visual system.
For definitions of other terms in this category, choose from the list to the left (but note that this is not a complete/exhaustive list).

Other related pages include

For further information see also our pages of books about ophthalmology.

The following books may also be of interest:

The Aging Eye (Harvard Medical School)
MCQ Companion to the Eye (Textbook)
The Secret of Perfect Vision: How You Can Prevent and Reverse Nearsightedness
What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About(TM) Glaucoma: The Essential Treatments and Advances That Could Save Your Sight

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