What is retinitis pigmentosa?


Know the basics

What is retinitis pigmentosa?

Retinitis pigmentosa is a group of diseases affecting the retina. The retina is the inner layer of the eyes is which has two special kinds of cells that send images to the brain. These lightsensitive cells are rods and cones. Retinitis pigmentosa is a group of diseases affecting the retina. Retinitis pigmentosa destroys rods in the retina, which causes a slow loss of vision and can ultimately result in blindness.

How common is retinitis pigmentosa?

According statistic, about 1 in 4000 people have this disorder. You can minimized the chance of having hernias by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Know the symptoms

What are the symptoms of retinitis pigmentosa?

Symptoms often first appear in childhood. However, severe vision problems do not often develop before early adulthood.

  • Decreased vision at night or in low light;
  • Loss of side (peripheral) vision, causing “tunnel vision”;
  • Loss of central vision (in advanced cases);

There may be some symptoms not listed above. If you have any concerns about a symptom, please consult your doctor.

When should I see my doctor?

If you have any signs or symptoms listed above or have any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor what is best for your situation.

Know the causes

What causes retinitis pigmentosa?

The cause is unknown. But the doctors suspect a mutation in the gene that controls rod cells may lead to the disorder. Sometimes, cone cells are also damaged. This disorder is inherited and usually passed from parents to children. It is not contagious.

Know the risk factors

What increases my risk for retinitis pigmentosa?

What causes retinitis pigmentation remains unclear, therefore, the risk factors that have not yet been found. However, genetic factors are believed to be the main reason that you have retinitis pigmentosa. If your family have the disease, you also have a high risk of the disease.

Understand the diagnosis & treatment

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. ALWAYS consult with your doctor for more information.

How is retinitis pigmentosa diagnosed?

The health care provider makes a diagnosis from the medical history and physical examination. An examination of the back of the eye with an ophthalmoscope shows pigmented (dark) spots on the retina. Other diagnosic methods include:

  • Color vision;
  • Exam of the retina by ophthalmoscopy after the pupils have been dilated;
  • Fluorescein angiography;
  • Intraocular pressure;
  • Measurement of the electrical activity in the retina (electroretinogram);
  • Pupil reflex response;
  • Refraction test;
  • Retinal photography;
  • Side vision test (visual field test);
  • Slit lamp examination;
  • Visual acuity.

How is retinitis pigmentosa treated?

There is no proven effective therapy for retinitis pigmentosa. Some studies suggest that treatment with antioxidants (such as high doses of vitamin A palmitate) may slow the disease. However, taking high doses of vitamin A can cause serious liver problems. The benefit of treatment has to be weighed against risks to the liver.

Aids including magnifying glasses and infrared night vision scopes can help people with night blindness and tunnel vision. Wearing sunglasses can protect the retina from ultraviolet light and may help preserve some vision.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage retinitis pigmentosa?

The following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with retinitis pigmentosa :

  • Remember that retinitis pigmentosa is inherited. Knowing your family history may give you valuable information about the type of your disorder. Genetic counseling and testing may find out whether your children are at risk for the disease.
  • Call your health care provider if you have vision problems, have trouble seeing at night, or notice a loss of your side vision.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor to better understand the best solution for you.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Review Date: May 30, 2016 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017

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