Nyctalopia is a medical condition meaning poor night vision. Is there an equivalent single word meaning good night vision, either in medical or general parlance?

  • When you ask about "good" eyesight in poor or dim light, do you mean "normal" vision or something which expresses a heightened or increased ability to see in the dark (night time) or in conditions of reduced light. Why does it have to be one word? The phenomenon might be expressed in more than one word.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jun 19 '15 at 6:39
  • @Mari-LouA. I was looking for one word because "good night vision" is a clumsy phrase to use repeatedly. I am trying to express the idea of a better than average ability for a human to see at night, without implying anything superhuman.
    – Alchymist
    Jun 19 '15 at 7:43


noun: the ability of the eye to adjust for night vision - Collins

This might not be quite what you're looking for because it is just the ability to see "normally" in the dark, but perhaps you could do something with it?

  • Maybe euscotopia should be a word? Not sure I can get away with that though.
    – Alchymist
    Jun 18 '15 at 14:34


  • the ability to see in reduced illumination (as in moonlight);

or night vision:

  • is the ability to see in low light conditions. Whether by biological or technological means, night vision is made possible by a combination of two approaches: sufficient spectral range, and sufficient intensity range. Humans have poor night vision compared to many animals, in part because the human eye lacks a tapetum lucidum.(Wikipedia)

also : night-eyed:

  • Capable of seeing at night; sharp-eyed. "Your night-eyed Tiberius." --B. Jonson. [1913 Webster]
  • I like the poetry of night-eyed, although I see that every dictionary I can find refers back to the Webster definition which, in turn, seems to have only the one reference in Jonson.
    – Alchymist
    Jun 18 '15 at 14:45
  • Yes, but I thought it was worth mentioning.
    – user66974
    Jun 18 '15 at 14:52
  • 1
    @Alchymist OED gives three citations. 1605 B. Jonson Sejanus v. i. 363, "I dare tell you..That our Night-ey'd Tiberius doth not see His Minions driftes."; 1838 R. Southey Madoc ii. xxvi, in Poet. Wks. V. 376 "The night-eyed insect tribes Wake to their portion of the circling hours."; 1999 Star Tribune (Minneapolis) (Nexis) 6 Mar. 7 b, "April 15 creeps up on us in the dark, staring like some kind of night-eyed beast.".
    – Calchas
    Jun 18 '15 at 21:00

Perhaps you could inject a word into common parlance. Since people who see well at a distance are eagle-eyed, people who see well at night should be owl-eyed,


Hyperscotopia? Scotopia is from the greek, as is hyper which is a common qualifying prefix in medical terminology.

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    – Lucky
    Jun 18 '15 at 23:57

Increased night vision

(colloquial) A person with the medical condition Systemic lupus erythematosus, colloquially known as vampirism, with effects such as photosensitivity, brownish-red stained teeth, and increased night vision. (wiktionary)

  • I'm not sure vampirism has quite the connotations I was looking for but I like the idea.
    – Alchymist
    Jun 18 '15 at 14:06
  • 1
    Incidentally, in this context "photosensitivity" means that your skin, not your eyes, is particularly sensitive to light. Jun 18 '15 at 17:09
  • The OP specifically asked for a single word, otherwise we could all suggest "heightened / enhanced / elevated / excellent night (nocturnal) vision"
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jun 19 '15 at 6:13

Hemeralopia might be somewhat the word you are looking for:

a condition of the eyes in which the sufferer can see clearly at night but has impaired vision during the day; day blindness.

  • 2
    the OP is looking for good night vision, not bad day vision.
    – Margana
    Jun 18 '15 at 8:53
  • 3
    I know, but he asked for a good night vision, and this condition implies it. Just that it goes with bad day vision as well.
    – Jaro
    Jun 18 '15 at 10:14
  • Hemeralopia implies normal night vision with reduced day vision. Confusingly, it has also been used for night blindness in some circumstances, as ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1857511 discusses.
    – Alchymist
    Jun 18 '15 at 14:04
  • @Alchymist: Wikipedia says that hemeralopia is the exact opposite of nyctalopia.
    – 0..
    Jun 19 '15 at 1:55
  • @emanen - no arguments that hemeralopia should mean day blindness. The distinction has caused confusion in the past, however.
    – Alchymist
    Jun 19 '15 at 8:33

Plain night vision would be nycteropia. If you want to coin a word, I would suggest:


This means something similar, night-seeing, night-appearing, night-illuminating. It is stronger than -opia, so it probably a good way to convey the basic idea.

  • 1
    Per every online eymology source I can find, nyctalopia is actually formed from nykt- (from nyx) meaning night, alaos meaning blind, and ops meaning eye. So that would in fact specifically mean lack of night vision, night-blindness.
    – recognizer
    Jun 18 '15 at 18:40
  • @recognizer Thanks for pointing that out, the subtleties of medical word formation. I have adjusted my answer appropriately.
    – Emma Dash
    Jun 18 '15 at 18:47


  1. belonging to or active during the night;
  2. of or relating to or occurring in the night;

This doesn't strictly mean good eye sight at night, but it could be implied depending on context.

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