Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) refers to a group of diseases which cause a slow but progressive vision loss. In each of them there is a gradual loss of the light-sensitive retinal cells called rods and cones. Symptoms include night blindness and loss of peripheral vision.
HOW IS RETINITIS PIGMENTOSA DIAGNOSED?
Tests to evaluate the retina 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 effective treatment for this condition. Wearing sunglasses to protect the retina from ultraviolet light may help preserve vision. A randomized, controlled trial of vitamins A and E found that 15,000 IU a day of vitamin A palmitate could slow the course of the condition among adults with typical forms of RP.Vitamin E, however, at a 400 IU a day dose appeared to have an adverse effect on the course of RP in the same study. Another study among adult patients with RP has shown that an omega-3-rich diet containing docosahexaenoic acid can further slow disease progression.
DID YOU KNOW?
Most forms of Retinitis Pigmentosa are inherited or genetic, though its signs do not necessarily appear in every generation.