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Overview

Retinitis Pigmentosa: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

What is the treatment?

Retinitis pigmentosa is also known as RP.

How is the treatment done?

It is an eye disease where the back wall of the eye is damaged. It is a disease caused due to genetic disorders due to which there is a loss of cells in the retina (they are light sensitive tissues). Symptoms of this disease include trouble seeing in the night and a decrease in the peripheral vision i.e. side vision. This condition changes how the retina responds to light, making it hard to see. Normally people with this disease will slowly lose their vision but not completely. The speed of vision loss depends from person to person. As of now there is no particular treatment for PR, but scientists are still studying why it is passed on to the next generation and looking for a permanent cure for this disease. There are supplements that will prevent the eye from full damage. These supplements include vitamin A supplements. Sometimes patients might develop swelling in the retina and develop cataract. Surgery for the same will help RP to an extent. Artificial retina called the ARGUS II can also be implanted and help some patients prevent severe vision loss. Sometimes glasses that use prisms can also be used for peripheral vision but it won’t restore the normal vision. These glasses have proved to be effective on people suffering from PR.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

There is no particular treatment for PR. Supplements such as vitamin A are used to reduce the vision loss and the use of glasses also prove to be effective. Mostly its important for the doctor to check the intensity of PR in a person in order to give the correct number of supplements. Intake of vitamin A slows down the vision loss and its effect increases when it is combined with docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a healthy fat abundant in Coldwater fish, such as tuna and salmon, and the antioxidant lutein. Since the intensity of vision loss differs from person to person, patients should take the exact supplement given by the doctor not any other vitamin A supplement, because overdose has not shown any positive effect. Eating fish also helps in slowing down the process of vision loss but if someone is allergic to it, they can always take 200mg DHA gel cap per day. Adults following this regimen should limit their alcohol intake to no more than two alcoholic beverages per day.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

The loss of vision starts gradually and not all at once. A person needs to consult a doctor once he/she starts finding out that his/her vision is getting blurry and has a difficulty in seeing. RP starts with a loss of vision of in the night and then to gradual loss of vision. The speed of loss of vision varies considerably from person to person, even between members of the same family. People in the age group of 18-60 years can take this medicine.

Are there any side effects?

Laboratory research suggests that the treatment regimen may be harmful to people with stargate disease, conerod dystrophy and any retinal disease caused by mutations in the gene ABca4. Also, people with abnormal liver function profile should also avoid these supplements. As said earlier people who consume alcohol shouldn’t take this regimen. If they need to consume the regimen they need to reduce their alcohol consumption and people who smoke shouldn’t consume this regimen (lutein) as it would increase the risk of lung cancer. Women who are pregnant and are planning to get pregnant shouldn’t take this regimen because it might affect the baby. People who are above the age 49 should get their bone density checked before taking he supplements weak bones can cause hip fracture. People who have had renal transplants shouldn’t take these supplements as the newly transplanted kidneys may absorb a lot of vitamin A making it toxic.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

There are not many side effects to the RP treatment because there is no treatment for this disease and people suffering from it are given supplements which don’t have any side effects. The regimen will only affect the people if it is taken in over dosage or any other dose not prescribed by the doctor.

How long does it take to recover?

Patients are generally asked to avoid alcohol and smoking.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

There is no permanent recovery from this disease, it only slows down the loss of vision process, so there is no recovery. But once you start taking the supplements you can see a difference within a months’ time.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

The treatment price in total costs from Rs 9000-12000 which includes the examination fee i.e. to find the intensity of the vision loss, which would be ranging from Rs 2000-4000. Glasses with prisms can cost around Rs 4000-5000 and the tablets would cost around Rs 3000.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

The treatment would help in the slowdown of the vision loss process and cannot restore the vision. Hence, it is not permanent.

Safety: Disease Effectiveness: Medium Timeliness: Medium Relative Risk: High Side Effects: Low Time For Recovery: Medium Price Range:

Rs 9000 - Rs 12,000

Popular Health Tips

Refraction - Factors That Result in Abnormal Results!

MS - Ophthalmology, MBBS
Ophthalmologist, Noida
Refraction - Factors That Result in Abnormal Results!

Refraction is a test for eye examination, which measures prescription for eyeglasses or contact lenses for individuals. The test can be performed by either an ophthalmologist or optometrist or in layman terms, an eye doctor.

Procedure for the test
In this test, the individual sits on a chair, which has a special device attached to it, called the refractor or phoropter. The individual has to look through the device and properly focus on an eye chart which is exactly 6 meters or 20 feet away. This device has lenses of various strengths that can be moved into the individual’s view. The test is conducted on one eye at a time. The doctor will be asking the individual about the chart whether it appears clearer or less clear, thereby determining the refractory error of the eye.

No special preparation is required for this test and also this test does not cause any discomfort. The purpose of the test is to determine whether the individual has a need for glasses or contacts or not. In other words, it checks if the individual has a refractory error or not.

How can the results be inferred?
If the vision without glasses is normal, it means that the refractive index is zero and the vision should be 20/20. This means that one can read a one-centimeter letter at a distance of six meters.
If an individual has a refractive error, a combination of lenses will be required for a 20/20 vision. In case of a refractive error, there would be a prescription and that would have in it a series of numbers describing the power of the lens required to correct the vision.

Abnormal results can be due to the following reasons

  1. Myopia or near-sightedness (capability to see near objects clearly, but having difficulty in seeing objects far away)
  2. Hypermetropia or far-sightedness (capability to see far away objects clearly, but not the nearby objects)
  3. Astigmatism (blurred vision due to abnormally curved cornea)
  4. Presbyopia (inability to see nearby objects clearly, which usually occurs due to age)

Other reasons that cause abnormal results can be

  1. Macular degeneration causing loss of sharp vision
  2. Corneal infections or corneal ulcers
  3. Retinal detachment, which means separation of the retina from its supporting layers
  4. Retinitis pigmentosa or damage of the retina
  5. Blockage of a small artery carrying blood to the retina or retinal vessel occlusion

One should have an eye examination conducted every three to five years even if they suffer from no serious eye problem. However, after the age of 40, one should schedule eye appointments every year and have a test for refraction error of glaucoma conducted.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

2485 people found this helpful

Usher Syndrome - Things You Must Know!

MBBS, MS - ENT ( Gold Medalist Honors )
ENT Specialist, Gurgaon
Usher Syndrome - Things You Must Know!

Usher syndrome is a genetic disorder that is characterized by complications in vision and hearing; the most common of them being partial/complete loss of hearing and retinitis pigmentosa. Retinitis pigmentosa is characterized by progressive deterioration of the retina, resulting in deprivation of peripheral vision and subsequent night blindness.

The symptoms and its rate of progression usually vary among people. Usher syndrome is classified into three types:

  • Type 1: In this type, children are born with balance issues and hearing loss problems. The symptoms of night blindness and loss of peripheral vision associated with ‘Retinitis Pigmentosa’ only appear in the early stages of adolescence.
  • Type 2: In type 2, children are born with moderate to mild hearing loss problems. Retinitis Pigmentosa develops soon after the child reaches adolescence.
  • Type 3: In type 3 Usher Syndrome, children are usually born with normal hearing skills, however, loss of hearing and Retinitis pigmentosa occur soon after puberty.

Causes
Hearing loss in Usher syndrome occurs when the nerve cells that are present in the cochlear (inner ear’s spiral cavity) are affected by genetic mutation. A similar problem occurs in the cells of the retina leading to loss of vision. These cells allow conversion of light into electrical signals for the brain to interpret them. Both the parents need to pass the mutated gene to the child for it to be affected. If the child has only one gene, then he/she rarely develops the symptoms.

Treatment
This disorder does not have any prescribed course of treatments. The vision loss that occurs in this disorder can be slowed down by nutritional therapy. This therapy involves providing the body with essential amounts of vitamin A which can help in reducing vision loss. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an Ent Specialist.

2807 people found this helpful

Retinitis Pigmentosa: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

DOMS
Ophthalmologist, Ahmedabad
Retinitis Pigmentosa: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Are you losing your sight day by day? Does it make difficult to see you at night? Is this the onset of Blindness? Get to know about Retinitis Pigmentosa with these tips.

What actually is Retinitis Pigmentosa?
Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) refers to a group of diseases, which causes a slow, but progressive vision loss. It is a genetic disorder that affects the ability to respond to light.This inherited disease causes a slow loss of vision, beginning with decreased night vision and loss of peripheral (side) vision and eventually results in blindness.

Causes: Retinitis pigmentosa is often hereditary (runs in families). If you or your partner has retinitis pigmentosa, there may be up to a 50 percent chance that you will pass it on to your children. Ask your ophthalmologist about genetic counseling if you are planning to have children.

Symptoms

  1. Slow loss of vision
  2. Beginning of decreased night vision
  3. Loss of peripheral vision
  4. Difficulty in identifying colours

Diagnosis: If you have poor night vision or a loss of side vision or if there is a history of retinitis pigmentosa in your family, your ophthalmologist will conduct a comprehensive eye exam to determine if you have retinitis pigmentosa. Your ophthalmologist will dilate your eyes to look at the back of them for signs of disease.

Treatment: Currently there is no known cure for retinitis pigmentosa. However, research has shown that vitamin A palmitate may slow the progression of certain forms of RP. Your ophthalmologist can advise you about the risks and benefits of vitamin A palmitate and how much you can safely take. Taking too much vitamin A palmitate can be toxic, and evidence of vitamin A palmitate effect on RP progression is not substantial.
Another recommendation for slowing vision loss from RP is to wear sunglasses to protect your retina from harmful ultraviolet (UV) light.

Retinal prosthesis is also an important area of exploration because the prosthesis, a man-made device intended to replace a damaged body part, can be designed to take over the function of the lost photoreceptors by electrically stimulating the remaining healthy cells of the retina.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

3527 people found this helpful

7 Causes Behind Night Blindness!

DOMS
Ophthalmologist, Ahmedabad
7 Causes Behind Night Blindness!

Night blindness is also called nyctalopia.It's a type of vision impairment. People with night blindness experience poor vision at night or in dimly lit environments. It is not a disease in itself, but rather a symptom of an underlying problem, usually a retina problem.

What Causes Night Blindness?
A number of eye conditions can cause night blindness, including:

  1. Nearsightedness or blurred vision when looking at faraway objects.
  2. Cataracts or clouding of the eye's lens.
  3. Retinitis pigmentosa, which occurs when dark pigment collects in your retina and creates tunnel vision.
  4. Vitamin A Deficiency
  5. Zinc Deficiency
  6. Dry Eyes
  7. Diabetes

Are the Symptoms of Night Blindness?
The sole symptom of night blindness is difficulty seeing in the dark. You're more likely to experience night blindness when your eyes transition from a bright environment to an area of low light, such as when you leave a sunny sidewalk to enter a dimly lit restaurant. You're likely to experience poor vision when driving due to the intermittent brightness of headlights and streetlights on the road.

How can I Prevent Night Blindness?
You can't prevent night blindness that's the result of birth defects or genetic conditions, such as Usher syndrome. You can, however, properly monitor your blood sugar level and eat a balanced diet to make night blindness less likely. 

Orange colored foods are excellent sources of vitamin A, including:

  1. Cantaloupes
  2. Sweet potatoes
  3. Carrots
  4. Pumpkins
  5. Butternut squash
  6. Mangoes

What are the Treatment Options for Night Blindness?
The treatment will depend on its causes.

  1. Nutrient deficiency (Vitamin A and Zinc) is the easiest to treat. 
  2. If the cause is cataract, you can go for cataract surgery to remove the clouded lens and replace it with artificial intraocular lens. Vision is usually dramatically improved after surgery
  3. For dry eye syndrome, lubricate your eyes with artificial tear drops as they provide instant relief. Just make sure that they are without preservatives. 
  4. Diabetic retinopathy can be prevented with tight control over blood sugar, active lifestyle and good dietary habits.
  5. As for retinitis pigmentosa, unfortunately there are no treatments available. Thankfully, new research is showing that vitamin A might have a slowing effect on the progression of this eye disease. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
3688 people found this helpful

Retinitis Pigmentosa: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

MBBS, MD - Ophthalmology, Vitreoretina and Uvea
Ophthalmologist, Gurgaon
Retinitis Pigmentosa: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Are you losing your sight day by day? Does it make difficult to see you at night? Is this the onset of Blindness? Get to know about Retinitis Pigmentosa with these tips.

What actually is Retinitis Pigmentosa?
Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) refers to a group of diseases, which causes a slow, but progressive vision loss. It is a genetic disorder that affects the ability to respond to light.This inherited disease causes a slow loss of vision, beginning with decreased night vision and loss of peripheral (side) vision and eventually results in blindness.

Causes: Retinitis pigmentosa is often hereditary (runs in families). If you or your partner has retinitis pigmentosa, there may be up to a 50 percent chance that you will pass it on to your children. Ask your ophthalmologist about genetic counseling if you are planning to have children.

Symptoms

  1. Slow loss of vision
  2. Beginning of decreased night vision
  3. Loss of peripheral vision
  4. Difficulty in identifying colours

Diagnosis: If you have poor night vision or a loss of side vision or if there is a history of retinitis pigmentosa in your family, your ophthalmologist will conduct a comprehensive eye exam to determine if you have retinitis pigmentosa. Your ophthalmologist will dilate your eyes to look at the back of them for signs of disease.

Treatment: Currently there is no known cure for retinitis pigmentosa. However, research has shown that vitamin A palmitate may slow the progression of certain forms of RP. Your ophthalmologist can advise you about the risks and benefits of vitamin A palmitate and how much you can safely take. Taking too much vitamin A palmitate can be toxic, and evidence of vitamin A palmitate effect on RP progression is not substantial.
Another recommendation for slowing vision loss from RP is to wear sunglasses to protect your retina from harmful ultraviolet (UV) light.

Retinal prosthesis is also an important area of exploration because the prosthesis, a man-made device intended to replace a damaged body part, can be designed to take over the function of the lost photoreceptors by electrically stimulating the remaining healthy cells of the retina.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

3558 people found this helpful

Popular Questions & Answers

Sir my friend suffering from retinal pigmentosa he wants to know at what age he will be almost blind did you saw any of retinal pigmentosa patients can able to maintain their vision is all retinal pigmentosa patients are same or they are different from losing their vision early can he can able to maintain vision upto 60 years of age is it possible please give advice how to maintain the vision.

Fellowship In Comprehensive Ophthalmology, DOMS
Ophthalmologist, Sangrur
Hello 1. Retinitis pigmentosa is a progressive disease 2. Speed of progression varies from person to person. I have seen patients going bling at young age of 30 years and I have seen patients having good vision even at age of 50 yrs. So, you can go for 6 months perimetry test and that will guide you the rate of progression.
1 person found this helpful

I have affected by hereditary eye problems like retinitis pigmentosa due to my parents close relation marriage. I'm very difficult to manage evening travel with low lights and my side vision is also poor. Is any treatment?

Fellowship In Comprehensive Ophthalmology, DOMS
Ophthalmologist, Sangrur
Hello....I am sorry but there is no treatment but please dont loose hope 1. there is research going on and scientists have discovered BIONIC eyes for people like you...But this is early stage and probably take some more years to be freely available in market 2. For the time being You can use LOW VISION AIDS...these will help in ur daily routine
3 people found this helpful

What is the latest treatment/news from worldwide for retinitis pigmentosa diagnosed at early childhood (9 yrs). Grandma has also severe retinitis pigmentosa in both eyes.

MBBS
General Physician, Mumbai
As it is a genetic disease and hence symptomatic treatment needs to be given and use sun glasses while going in direct sunlight and not to allow him to drive vehicles in future
1 person found this helpful

My relatives has been diagnosed as suffering from retinitis pigmentosa in both eyes. Is there any treatment for retinitis pigmentosa in both eyes in allopathy?

C.S.C, D.C.H, M.B.B.S
General Physician, Alappuzha
RP is an inherited disorder that results from harmful changes in any one of more than 50 genes. These genes carry the instructions for making proteins that are needed in cells within the retina, called photoreceptors. Some of the changes, or mutations, within genes are so severe that the gene cannot make the required protein, limiting the cellís function. Other mutations produce a protein that is toxic to the cell. Still other mutations lead to an abnormal protein that doesnít function properly. In all three cases, the result is damage to the photoreceptors.A number of services and devices are available to help people with vision loss carry out daily activities and maintain their independence. In addition to an eye care professional, itís important to have help from a team of experts, which may include occupational therapists, orientation and mobility specialists, certified low vision therapists, and others. NEI has more information on living with low vision.

Table of Content

What is the treatment?
How is the treatment done?
Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)
Who is not eligible for the treatment?
Are there any side effects?
What are the post-treatment guidelines?
How long does it take to recover?
What is the price of the treatment in India?
Are the results of the treatment permanent?
What are the alternatives to the treatment?
Having issues? Consult a doctor for medical advice