Retinitis pigmentosa is referred to as a group of eye diseases that is passed down in families. All the diseases involve the eye’s retina. The retina is the nerve layer that lines the back of the eye that is sensitive to light. All of the diseases cause a slow but sure loss or reduces eyesight.
What causes retinitis pigmentosa?
Retinitis pigmentosa is a group of eye diseases that are passed down in families with time. All of them affect the ability of the retina to sense light. The problem with the retina can take place in any of the following:
- Rod cells
- Cone cells
- The connection between the cells that make up the retina
How is retinitis pigmentosa diagnosed?
Your doctor will take a complete medical history and give you an eye test. The ophthalmologist may do one or more of the following tests to make a diagnosis:
- Eye chart test
- Refraction test
- Color defectiveness determination test
- Retinal exam
- Ultrasound of the eye
What are the symptoms of retinitis pigmentosa?
Some of the symptoms of retinitis pigmentosa generally rise in childhood or adolescence. Though, each person may experience symptoms differently.
Some people with the problem have a slow, very progressive loss of eyesight. Others lose their eyesight much more quickly and severely. Common symptoms of retinitis pigmentosa may include:
- Difficult time seeing in poor lighting or in the dark
- A lowered ability to see either central vision or side or peripheral vision
- Hard time reading print
- Hard time figuring out detailed images
- Hard time with stumbling or tripping over objects not seen
Some of the symptoms of the condition may look like other eye diseases. Talk with your doctor for a diagnosis.
How is retinitis pigmentosa treated?
Your doctor will figure out the best treatment for you based on:
- Your age
- Your overall health and medical history
- How sick you are
- How good you can handle specific medicines, procedures, or therapies
- How long the condition will last
- Your opinion or preference
The symptoms of retinitis pigmentosa sometimes look like other conditions or medical problems. Always visit your doctor for a diagnosis.
There is no specific treatment for retinitis pigmentosa known at present time. However, protecting your eye’s retina by using UV sunglasses may help delay the start of symptoms.
A retinal prosthesis (artificial retina) has been developed for individuals with very advanced disease and severe vision loss. Talk with your ophthalmologist for more information.