Retinitis Pigmentosa

What Is Retinitis Pigmentosa?

Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) refers to a group of rare, genetic disorders that involve a breakdown and loss of cells in the retina, which is the light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye. This condition causes a gradual decline in vision, affecting the ability to see both in low light and the peripheral vision. Over time, RP can lead to blindness.

Symptoms of Retinitis Pigmentosa:

The symptoms of RP typically start in childhood, but severe vision problems do not usually develop until early adulthood. Symptoms include:

  • Decreased vision at night or in low light (night blindness)
  • Loss of peripheral vision, leading to ‘tunnel vision’
  • Difficulty identifying colors
  • Central vision loss in advanced stages

Treatment for Retinitis Pigmentosa:

While there is no cure for RP, treatments are available that can help manage the symptoms or slow the progression of the disease:

  • Prescription Glasses or Contact Lenses: To correct vision problems.
  • Low Vision Aids: Devices with special lenses or electronic systems that produce enlarged images of nearby objects.
  • Gene Therapy: In certain types of RP, gene therapy may help slow the loss of cells in the retina.
  • Retinal Implants: In advanced cases, a retinal implant might help restore a basic level of vision.

Prevention of Retinitis Pigmentosa:

As RP is a genetic disorder, there is no known prevention. However, genetic counseling may be beneficial for families with a history of RP to understand their risks. Maintaining overall eye health, including regular eye exams, is also important for individuals with RP.

To learn more about retinitis pigmentosa, its causes, diagnosis, and surgical options, visit your optometrist.

Please note that this information is provided for informational purposes only and should not substitute professional medical advice. If you suspect you have retinitis pigmentosa or any eye-related concerns, it is important to consult with an eye care professional for a proper evaluation and personalized recommendations.