Ask an Eye M.D. Answer Archive

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Question:
I have a problem at night playing team tennis. I cannot see the ball until it's almost over the net. What kind of glasses can I get for night vision? Would this also help with night driving (I do not require any corrective measures for my eyes)? Also, I am an extremely active 60-year-old. Don't baseball players have special night glasses?

Answer:
This is a very common symptom. These symptoms call for a comprehensive exam from an Eye M.D. In this exam, the Eye M.D. will first evaluate whether you have refractive error, which is hyperopia, myopia and/or astigmatism or a combination of these. Small refractive errors can cause big symptoms particularly at night. So correcting this with spectacles and adding an anti-reflective coating can help. Next, the Eye M.D. will look at the ocular surface and particularly the cornea. Dry eyes and blepharitis are very common conditions that affect the quality of vision through the cornea by affecting the quality of the tear film and the ocular surface. Treatment of these can often help. Next, the Eye M.D. will want to look at your natural lens for a cataract. Your symptom is often the first presenting complaint of cataract and, if severe enough, surgery may be necessary to remove the cataract. They will also want to evaluate your macula and nerve for early signs of age-related changes. But, the type of symptom you describe is not usually from conditions of these. However, it is not impossible. I have had patients with this symptom where all disease and treatable conditions have either been ruled out or treated and the symptoms have persisted. In this case, it is likely due to natural aberrations of the optics of the eye that change with aging. You can take solace in noting that it is not a progressive or sight-threatening condition, but you may just have to learn to live with this symptom.

Answered by: Gary Hirshfield, MD Dr. Gary Hirshfield

Categories: Eye Conditions, General Eye Health

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Answered: Nov 23, 2010

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