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October 1976

Hemeranopia and Nyctanopia

Author Affiliations

Petah Tiqva, Israel

Arch Ophthalmol. 1976;94(10):1804. doi:10.1001/archopht.1976.03910040578020

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To the Editor.  —The terms used for night- and day-blindness cause much confusion. Classically, hemeralopia designated night-blindness and nyctalopia day-blindness, which is etymologically incorrect. Therefore, some now use these terms with opposite meanings. This is confusing because the meaning of "al," coming from "alaos"—blind—is not generally known to doctors, not many of whom know Greek (or even Latin) nowadays.I therefore suggest that it be replaced by the "a privativum"—"an" before a vowel—which is known to every doctor and appears in such ophthalmological terms as hemianopia, protanopia, anophalmia, etc. Hemeranopia for day-blindness and nyctanopia for night-blindness will be universally understood.

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