Retinitis Pigmentosa

Retinitis Pigmentosa

retinitis-pigmentosaWhat Is Retinitis Pigmentosa?

Retinitis pigmentosa is a group of eye problems that affect the retina. This condition changes how the retina responds to light, making it hard to see. People with retinitis pigmentosa lose their vision slowly over time. Usually, though, they will not become totally blind.

What Causes Retinitis Pigmentosa?

Retinitis pigmentosa is a genetic condition, meaning it can be passed down in families. The type and speed of vision loss from retinitis pigmentosa varies from person to person. It depends on their form of the condition.

Retinitis Pigmentosa Symptoms

With retinitis pigmentosa, you may have vision loss in the following ways:

  • Loss of night vision. Night blindness is when you cannot see anything in the dark. Your vision may be normal during the day. As you start losing night vision, it takes longer to adjust to darkness. You may stumble over objects or have trouble driving at dusk and at night. You might also find it hard to see in movie theaters or other dim rooms.
  • Gradual loss of peripheral (side) vision. This is known as “tunnel vision.” You may find you bump into things as you move around. This is because you are not able to see objects below and around you.
  • Loss of central vision. Some people also have problems with central vision. This can make it hard to do detailed tasks such as reading or threading a needle.
  • Problems with color vision. Some people may also have trouble seeing different colors.

Retinitis Pigmentosa Treatment

There is no single treatment for retinitis pigmentosa. Scientists are studying why and how retinitis pigmentosa happens within families. They hope to develop treatments based on this information.

Research shows that taking certain vitamins, including vitamin A palmitate, may help some people with retinitis pigmentosa. Your ophthalmologist can tell you if these vitamins might be helpful for you. If so, he or she can recommend which vitamins and how much you should take.

People with low vision can learn to make the most of their remaining sight. There are many devices and ways to do things differently that can help with tasks. Vision specialists can teach you to use these tools and techniques.

If you have retinitis pigmentosa and plan to have children, you might want to speak with a genetic counselor to learn about your chance of passing this eye condition on to your children.

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