Retinitis pigmentosa is a group of rare eye disorder. It is an inherited condition that involves the breakdown and loss of retinal cells.

retinitis pigmentosa

Retinitis Pigmentosa Symptoms

The first signs of this condition usually occur in early childhood. The early signs of Retinitis pigmentosa include poor night vision, narrow field of vision, etc. Later symptoms include loss of peripheral vision and tunnel vision. At advanced stages patients start losing vision in the day time and in some cases ultimately blind.

Retinitis Pigmentosa Causes

Retinitis Pigmentosa is an inherited disorder. It is considered a group of eye diseases that results from harmful changes in any of the genes which control traits or instructions for making proteins for photoreceptors. Even slight changes, or mutations, within these genes are so severe that:

  • it fails to make the required protein or
  • produce a toxic protein or
  • produce abnormal protein.

All of these results damage the photoreceptors and limits its function.

Retinitis Pigmentosa Diagnosis

Retinitis pigmentosa is diagnosed through the examination of the retina. Your eye doctor will use an indirect ophthalmoscope to have a wider and a clear view of the retina. The doctor checks the presence of abnormal or dark pigment deposits on the retina. Other tests include:

  • Electroretinogram (ERG): this test helps to measure the photoreceptor cell’s electrical activity. People with retinitis pigmentosa shows a decreased in electrical activity.
  • Visual field testing: These tests help to determine the extent of vision loss.
  • Genetic testing: Your eye doctor may take a DNA sample to give a genetic diagnosis.

Retinitis Pigmentosa Treatment

Currently, there is no specific treatment to prevent disease progression. Nutritional supplements may not help to slow down the progression of this disease.
Some patients develop macular edema( fluid collection and swelling of the macula) which may decrease vision which can be treated with medications. At the same time, RP patients can develop cataract at an earlier stage and its surgery can be beneficial.

Argus II retinal prosthesis system is available which can be of some benefit to patients blinded by retinitis pigmentosa. It involved surgically placed the implant with electrodes on the retina and the patient wears a camera to navigate. It’s available only at select centres in the world ( ).

In cases with advanced late-stage disease, eye care professional focuses on the maximization of the patient’s visual potential. To help the patients, the ophthalmologist may offer various devices such as magnifiers, lamps, and video screens as optimal low-vision aids are very patient-specific.

Retinitis Pigmentosa Surgery

Clinical trials are being carried out all over the world. Implantable devices like artificial retina look promising at the current stage. It can provide some vision to patients who have already lost vision as a result of this condition and other retinal diseases. Many of the genes causing this rare disorder are being mapped internationally. This provides some understanding of the genetic information and its faults. Research might offer treatment of Retinitis pigmentosa and related conditions in the future.

Retinitis Pigmentosa After Effects

Living with Retinitis pigmentosa does not have to mean an end. Patients with this condition can do and enjoy things by making the most of their sight. Your eye doctor can offer support and Adaptive therapy so that patients can enjoy leisure when living with sight loss.

Retinitis Pigmentosa Precautions

  • Rearrange the furniture to decrease the risk of bumping or stumbling into things
  • Go for Genetic counseling
  • At some point, the patients with Retinitis pigmentosa have to drive only during the daytime or on better-lighted streets at night

Use low vision aids, magnifiers, etc.

Retinitis Pigmentosa Risks

As the retina slowly and progressively degenerates, this condition causes blindness eventually.

Retinitis Pigmentosa Recovery

Unfortunately, there are no known treatments to treat Retinitis pigmentosa or to prevent or slow down its progression. However, many patients with this common blinding condition live a full, active life for many years.

Dr. Raja Rami Reddy P