Retinitis Pigmentosa Treatment

Retinitis Pigmentosa.jpgRetinitis pigmentosa refers to a group of rare, genetic eye diseases which cause slow but progressive vision loss due to the progressive degeneration of the rod photoreceptor cells in the retina.

The retina is the thin layer of tissue that lines the back of the eye. The retina processes light through a layer of photoreceptor cells. These cells are responsible for detecting color and light-intensity. The retina processes the information gathered by the photoreceptor cells and sends this information to the brain via the optic nerve. Any damage to the retina can cause serious vision impairment and vision loss.

Most forms of retinitis pigmentosa are inherited, though its signs do not necessarily appear in every generation. Learning more about your family history may help you and your doctor to make informed decisions about treatment and eventually a cure for this disease.  

Symptoms of retinitis pigmentosa include night blindness and loss of peripheral vision. Symptoms usually start during young adulthood, although retinitis pigmentosa may be present at any age.

Currently, there is no cure for retinitis pigmentosa and treatment options are limited. Occasionally, the degeneration can be slowed to preserve vision for a longer time. In order to slow vision loss from retinitis pigmentosa, it is recommended that patients wear sunglasses to protect their retina from harmful ultraviolet (UV) light.

Retinitis pigmentosa research is being conducted in areas such as gene therapy and transplant options. Since retinitis pigmentosa is a genetic-based disease, gene therapy has become a widely-explored area of research, particularly in identifying ways to insert healthy genes into the retina. And as hereditary causes are discovered, researchers hope to develop treatments to prevent the progression of retinitis pigmentosa.

For people who have retinitis pigmentosa, it is important to remember that there are many low-vision devices, tips and rehabilitation services designed specifically to help people with low vision maintain an active and independent lifestyle. Our doctors in Phoenix have resources and low-vision treatment options available for retinitis pigmentosa patients. Contact Associated Retina Consultants at 602-242-4928 or associatedretainconsultants.com to learn more.

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