Deficiency of Vitamin ‘A’ Causes Night Blindness

“Nyctalopia” or “Night blindness” is a disease or disability of the vision of the eyes and a disorder of the ‘retina’ of the eyes. The rod cells, one of two light-sensitive areas of the retina of the eye, are impaired in their capacity to produce a chemical compound called ‘rhodopsin’, or ‘visual purple’, causing inability to see in dim light, or in light of a less intensity. Nyctalopia is caused by the deficiency of and curable by addition of: “Vitamin -A”.

The following are the types of Nyctalopia or Night Blindness:-

  • Congenital Stationary Night Blindness:- will be present from the time of birth. This is a hereditary type of Nyctalopia
  • Progressive Night Blindness:- is a continuous type and will become worse in course of time
  • Night Blindness as Complication of Obesity Surgery:- People who had “Obesity Surgery” for removal of excess fat, may have this type of Nyctalopia.

The causes for Nyctalopia are:-

  • Lack of vitamin A, which will cause a disorder of the ‘retina’ and make the eyes dry
  • Birth defects
  • Old Age
  • Cataracts, in the lens of the eye/normally will affect old people
  • Some forms of retinal degeneration, like’retinitis pigmentosa’
  • Side effects of some medications/like ‘glaucoma’ medications
  • Liver disorders
  • Surgery of the pancreas or liver
  • Obesity Surgery
  • Intestinal Disorders

Patients being treated with ‘glaucoma’ medications which constrict the pupil also will have night blindness, because the small pupil allows minimal light to enter the eye. ‘Retinitis pigmentosa’ , a retinal degenerative disorder, also commonly presents with night blindness.

Symptoms of Night Blindness are:-

  • Difficulty/Inability to see in low light or darkness
  • Dry eyes
  • Blurred vision

Treatment for Nyctalopia:-

A complete eye examination must be done to determine the cause of Night Blindness. And Nyctalopia/ Night Blindness will have to be treated depending on its cause, including the following:-

  • Removal of the cataracts
  • Eating a diet with adequate amounts of Vitamin ‘A’:-

Treatment of night blindness consists of the oral or intravenous administration of Vitamin ‘A’.

Vitamin A acts as an antioxidant, which prevents, in addition to Night Blindness, cancer and many other diseases, and it is vital for:-

  • Healthy formation of Bones, Teeth and Skin
  • Maintenance of outer layer of many tissues and organs
  • Growth and vitality
  • Pregnant women and Lactation
  • Growth and Repair of body tissues
  • Health of hair

The following food items are rich in Vitamin A :-

  • Eggs
  • Dark Green & Yellow Fruits and Vegetables
  • Dairy Products

Deficiency of Vitamin A may Cause in addition to Night Blindness, the following disorders/deficiencies:-

  • Defective Teeth and Gums
  • Allergies
  • Dry Hair
  • Retarded Growth
  • Susceptibility to Infections
  • Eye Irritations
  • Sinus Trouble
  • Dry Skin
  • Loss of Ability to Smell

Vitamin A Deficiency will occur in the following cases:-

  • In people who limit their consumption of liver, dairy foods, and beta-carotene-containing vegetables
  • In ‘Low birth weight babies’/’Prematurely born babies’

Related reading: Vitamin Tablets

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