MESVision

Retinitis Pigmentosa?

What is Retinitis Pigmentosa?

Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is the name given to a group of hereditary eye diseases that affect the retina. Retinitis pigmentosa causes the degeneration of photoreceptor cells in the retina. These are cells that capture and process light that helps us to see. As these cells degenerate and die, patients experience progressive vision loss.

What Causes Retinitis Pigmentosa?

Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is the name given to a group of hereditary eye diseases that affect the retina. Retinitis pigmentosa causes the degeneration of photoreceptor cells in the retina. These are cells that capture and process light that helps us to see. As these cells degenerate and die, patients experience progressive vision loss.

What are the Symptoms of Retinitis Pigmentosa?

  • Loss of or diminished night vision (the earliest & most frequent symptom)
  • Normal visual acuity in early stages
  • Donut shaped visual field loss progressing to severe constriction (loss of peripheral vision)
  • Night blindness
  • Decreased response to magnification
  • Need for more light
Retinus Pigmetosa

How is Retinitis Pigmentosa Detected?

There are special tests that can be used to detect RP:

  • Acuity Tests: measures the accuracy of your central vision.
  • Color Testing: helps determine the status of your cone cells, the retinal cells that interpret color.
  • Donut shaped visual field loss progressing to severe constriction (loss of peripheral vision)
  • Color Testing: helps determine the status of your cone cells, the retinal cells that interpret color.
  • Dark Adaptation Test: measures how well your eyes adjust to changes in lighting.
  • ERG Test (electrophysiological test): records the electrical currents produced by the retina due to a light stimulus.

Who is Most at Risk?

Recent research findings suggest that in some forms of RP, those who have prolonged, unprotected exposure to sunlight may experience accelerated vision loss.

How is Retinitis Pigmentosa Treated?

As yet, there is no known cure for RP. However, intensive research is currently ongoing to discover the cause, prevention, and treatment of RP.

How can Retinitis Pigmentosa Be Prevented?

Reducing your exposure to sunlight is important for keeping the eye protected. However, since RP is an inherited disorder that runs in families, the disease is not preventable. If someone in your family is diagnosed with retinal degeneration, it is strongly advised that all members of the family contact an eye care professional.

This document is provided for informational purposes only. Please consult an eye care professional about symptoms that may require medical attention and may or may not be covered by your medical plan and/or routine vision plan.

Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB) - www.blindness.org