Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a name given to a group of eye disease that can cause sight loss. They all have one thing in common: the coloring your eye doctor finds when looking at your retina. When the photoreceptors in the retina fail to work as needed, you can lose your sight. This rare disorder can be passed down from parent to child. For every 4,000 people, one person will get RP. Nearly half of the people diagnosed with RP have a family member who has the condition also.
The symptoms to watch out for
Retinitis pigmentosa often begins in childhood. The speed at which it progresses is different from person to person. The majority of individuals who have been diagnosed with RP lose much of their sight by adulthood then become legally blind by age 40. If you have RP, you may begin to experience night blindness. This occurs when the rods in the eye take longer to adjust to night. This may become apparent when you leave a dark theater, trip over objects in a dark room, or have problems driving after sundown.
Peripheral vision loss is another symptom that shows up soon after the onset of night blindness. You may begin to have a hard time seeing objects on your side unless you turn head in that direction.
Next, bright lights are abnormally uncomfortable. You may even start to perceive flashes of light that blink or shimmer.
Testing and Treatment
If you think you may have RP, schedule an appointment today to have your vision tested. During your vision test, the doctor will do a unique eye analysis that includes a visual field test, genetic test, electroretinogram, and ophthalmoscope.
There is currently no way to cure retinitis pigmentosa, but there are a few options to help slow vision loss and preserve sight. These include: wearing sunglasses, high doses of Vitamin A palmitate, or a retinal implant.