All About Night Blindness – A Common Deficiency Disorder

Night Blindness is a very common disease. It is usually seen in children. Know more about night blindness, its causes, symptoms and cure.

Night blindness is caused due to deficiency of vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A helps in production of retinal pigments in the eye. These retinal pigments help us to see clearly in dim light. These pigments help to adapt our eyes to the change in brightness of light. When there is deficiency of vitamin A in the body, this function is affected and a person cannot see in dim light.

In moderate cases of vitamin A deficiency, the child has blurred vision at night. In severe cases, there can be complete inability to see in dim light. The mother herself can detect this condition when her child cannot see in late evenings or cannot find her in a dark room. Along with this, the child may have other signs of vitamin A deficiency like dry, thick skin over elbows, thighs or dryness of eyes etc.

This condition gets worse until the vitamin A intake is not increased. If the child is suffering from diarrhoea or other infections, then this condition may get even more severe. This is because during these infections body loses vitamin A, so the deficiency will get severe and will cause more worsening of night blindness.

Night blindness can be easily cured by administration of vitamin A in massive dose of 110 mg orally on two successive days. The recommended daily requirement of vitamin A is 600 mcg in adults and 400 mcg in children of 1 to 6 years of age. Infants require 350 mcg of vitamin A every day. Prevention of night blindness is also easy.

Eat vitamin A rich foods. Green leafy vegetables like spinach, amaranth, carrots, tomato are good sources of vitamin A. Fruits like papaya, pumpkin oranges, mango also contain high levels of vitamin A. Animal foods like cod liver oil, halibut liver oil, butter, margarine, cheese, egg, liver, fish contain good amounts of vitamin A. So include all these foods in diet. This will increase the vitamin A content in food and will prevent night blindness in children.