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Night Blindness (Holistic)

Night Blindness (Holistic)

About This Condition

Driving during the darker hours of the day can be difficult when you have night blindness. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful.
  • Get a nutritional checkup

    Visit a knowledgeable professional to find out whether your night blindness is caused by a vitamin A or zinc deficiency

  • Deal with the deficiency

    Supplement with vitamin A and zinc to correct those deficiencies that may lead to night blindness; see your healthcare provider to determine recommended amounts and duration of treatment

About

About This Condition

People with night blindness (also called impaired dark adaptation) see poorly in the darkness but see normally when adequate amounts of light are present. The condition does not actually involve true blindness, even at night.

Symptoms

Symptoms include difficulty seeing when driving in the evening or at night, poor vision in reduced light, and feeling that the eyes take longer to “adjust” to seeing in the dark.

Supplements

What Are Star Ratings?

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

3 Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.

2 Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.

1 Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

Supplement Why
3 Stars
Beta-Carotene
If deficient: 10,000 to 25,000 IU daily
Night blindness may be an early sign of vitamin A deficiency. Supplementing with beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A, help correct such a deficiency and improve night blindness.

Caution: Synthetic beta-carotene has been linked to increased risk of lung cancer in smokers. Until more is known, smokers should avoid all beta-carotene supplements.

Night blindness may be an early sign of vitamin A deficiency. Such a deficiency may result from diets low in animal foods (the main source of vitamin A), such as eggs, dairy products, organ meats, and some fish. Low intake of fruits and vegetables containing beta-carotene , which the body converts into vitamin A, may also contribute to a vitamin A deficiency. Doctors often recommend 10,000 to 25,000 IU of vitamin A per day to correct a deficiency. Beta-carotene is less effective at correcting vitamin A deficiency than is vitamin A itself, because it is not absorbed as well and is only slowly converted by the body into vitamin A.

3 Stars
Vitamin A
If deficient: 10,000 to 25,000 IU daily
Night blindness may be an early sign of vitamin A deficiency. Doctors often recommend supplementing with vitamin A per day to correct a deficiency.

Night blindness may be an early sign of vitamin A deficiency. Such a deficiency may result from diets low in animal foods (the main source of vitamin A), such as eggs, dairy products, organ meats, and some fish. Low intake of fruits and vegetables containing beta-carotene , which the body converts into vitamin A, may also contribute to a vitamin A deficiency. Doctors often recommend 10,000 to 25,000 IU of vitamin A per day to correct a deficiency. Beta-carotene is less effective at correcting vitamin A deficiency than is vitamin A itself, because it is not absorbed as well and is only slowly converted by the body into vitamin A.

3 Stars
Zinc
If deficient: 15 to 30 mg daily (with 1 to 2 mg copper daily, to prevent depletion)
A lack of zinc may reduce the activity of retinol dehydrogenase, an enzyme needed to help vitamin A work in the eye. Zinc helps night blindness in people who are zinc-deficient.

Dietary zinc deficiency is common, and a lack of zinc may reduce the activity of retinol dehydrogenase, an enzyme needed to help vitamin A work in the eye. Zinc helps night blindness in people who are zinc-deficient;1 therefore, many physicians suggest 15 to 30 mg of zinc per day to support healthy vision. Because long-term zinc supplementation may reduce copper levels, 1 to 2 mg of copper per day (depending on the amount of zinc used) is usually recommended for people who are supplementing with zinc for more than a few weeks.

2 Stars
Iron (Iron Deficiency)
30 mg of iron and 6 mg of riboflavin per day
If a person has deficiencies of iron and riboflavin, supplementing with these nutrients may increase the benefits of vitamin A.

In a study of women in Nepal, where there is a high prevalence of iron and riboflavin deficiencies, supplementation with 30 mg per day of iron and 6 mg per day of riboflavin for six weeks enhanced the effectiveness of vitamin A in the treatment of night blindness.2 It is not known whether these nutrients would be helpful for night blindness in people who are not deficient.

1 Star
Bilberry
Refer to label instructions
Bilberry is high in flavonoids that speed the regeneration of the pigment used by eye for night vision. Supplementing with bilberry has been shown to improve dark adaptation in people with poor night vision.

Bilberry , a close relative of the blueberry, is high in flavonoids known as anthocyanosides. Anthocyanosides speed the regeneration of rhodopsin, the purple pigment that is used by the rods in the eye for night vision.3 Supplementation with bilberry has been shown in early studies to improve dark adaptation in people with poor night vision.4 , 5 However, two newer studies found no effect of bilberry on night vision in healthy people.6 , 7 Bilberry extract standardized to contain 25% anthocyanosides may be taken in capsule or tablet form. Doctors typically recommend 240 to 480 mg per day.

References

1. Anonymous. Zinc-responsive night blindness in sickle cell anemia. Nutr Rev 1982;40:175–7.

2. Graham JM, Haskell MJ, Pandey P, et al. Supplementation with iron and riboflavin enhances dark adaptation response to vitamin A-fortified rice in iron-deficient, pregnant, nightblind Nepali women. Am J Clin Nutr 2007;85:1375–84.

3. Alfieri R, Sole P. Influencedes anthocyanosides admintres parvoie parenterale su l’adaptoelectroretinogramme du lapin. CR Soc Biol 1964;15:2338 [in French].

4. Jayle GE, Aubry M, Gavini H, et al. Study concerning the action of anthocyanoside extracts of Vaccinium myrtillus on night vision. Ann Ocul 1965;198:556–62 [in French].

5. Belleoud L, Leluan D, Boyer YS. Study on the effects of anthocyanin glycosides on the nocturnal vision of air controllers. Rev Med Aeronaut Spatiale 1966;18:3–7.

6. Zadok D, Levy Y, Glovinsky Y. The effect of anthocyanosides in a multiple oral dose on night vision. Eye 1999;13:734–6.

7. Muth ER, Laurent JM, Jasper P. The effect of bilberry nutritional supplementation on night visual acuity and contrast sensitivity. Altern Med Rev 2000;5:164–73.

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