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Retinitis Pigmentosa: Causes & Symptoms

Retinitis Pigmentosa

Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a disease condition that was first identified and named by Dr. Donders in 1857.

Also known as (RP,) this group of genetic disorders that affect the retina’s ability to respond to light. This inherited disease causes a slow loss of vision, beginning with decreased night vision and loss of peripheral (side) vision. This terrible eye disease is a group of related conditions that are progressive and clinically distinctive. These conditions share a similar feature of dystrophy or damage to the photoreceptors of the retina and of the pigment epithelium underneath the photoreceptors. As we have discussed throughout the retina section of this website, the retina is a critical component of the eye responsible for interpreting images and transmitting them onto the brain. Eventually, blindness results from this eye disease. We are sorry to report that unfortunately, there is no cure for retinitis pigmentosa.

Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) – Causes

Retinitis pigmentosa is an inherited disease that has many different modes of inheritance. It is known to be caused by more than 100 different genetic mutations. Retinitis pigmentosa, with any inheritance pattern, may be either familial (multiple family members affected) or isolated (only one affected person).

Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP)- Symptoms

  • Decreased vision at night or in low light
  • Loss of side (peripheral) vision
  • Loss of central vision (in advanced cases)

Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) – Treatment:

There are no medications or surgery to treat retinitis pigmentosa. However, researchers continue to seek possible treatments. In 2004, scientists injected stem cells to the back of mouse eyes and stopped retinal degeneration. Scientists are also exploring the possibility of retinal transplantation. Some doctors believe vitamins A and E will slightly slow the progression of the disease in some people. However, large doses of certain vitamins may be toxic and affected individuals should speak to their doctors before taking supplements.

If a person with RP must be exposed to bright sunlight, some doctors recommend wearing dark sunglasses to reduce the effect on the retina. Affected people should talk to their eye doctors about the correct lenses to wear outdoors.

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