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Is There a Cure for Retinitis Pigmentosa?

Tuesday, February 14th, 2023, 4:08 am

Woman looking at refractometer eye test machine in ophthalmologyRetinitis pigmentosa affects about 1 in 4,000 people, and although it is rare it is something you should be aware of if someone in your family has had vision loss. Here is some more information about this disease and what can be done about it.

What Is Retinitis Pigmentosa?

Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) are a group of eye diseases that involve the retina, the cells at the back of the eyeball that are responsible for passing nerve impulses to the optic nerve; these nerve impulses are sent to the brain to interpret what we see. RP results in slow vision loss, as cells in the eye start to break down and die so that they can no longer absorb light and send impulses to the brain.

What Causes RP?

RP is caused by gene mutations that can lead to a lack of proteins that are necessary for the eye to function, or they can lead to the production of a protein that is toxic to cells.

Symptoms of RP typically start in childhood, with one common symptom being that children with RP can’t see in the dark. They may have loss of night vision and loss of their peripheral vision. Over time, they may lose color vision. Some may keep their central vision well into their 50s, while others may lose their vision entirely when they are much younger.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for RP, although there are ways to treat it and therapies to help people live with it. These include medications (to help improve vision), vitamin A palmitate (to slow down the RP process), and artificial vision devices. Patients with RP might also work with a team of experts, including an occupational therapist and a vision specialist, to help them find the right combination of treatments and therapies.

The risk of having an eye disease is just one more reason to schedule an eye exam – your eye doctor will check for any signs that something just isn’t right. If you are overdue for an eye exam, don’t put it off any longer! Contact Marion Eye Center and Optical in Illinois at 800-344-7058 or in Missouri at 877-269-4545. Call for an appointment today!

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Category: Retina Institute

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