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Retinitis Pigmentosa - Causes, Symptoms & Treatment


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Retinitis pigmentosa causes the degeneration of photoreceptor cells in the retina. There are types of photoreceptor cells: rod cells and cone cells. The rate of decline varies depending on the genetic makeup of the disorder and also varies somewhat in individuals. A light is shone in the eye and the electroretinogram records electrical changes in the retina. They can occur in very young children causing a lifetime of blindness or rob the elderly of their precious independence. Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a rare, inherited disease in which the light-sensitive retina of the eye slowly and progressively degenerates. The rods are located in the periphery of the retina and are responsible for peripheral and night vision. 

RP causes the thin layer of tissue in the back of the eye, which is called the retina, to deteriorate. Photoreceptor cells capture and process light helping us to see. As these cells degenerate and die, patients experience progressive vision loss. In the progression of symptoms for RP, night blindness generally precedes tunnel vision by years or even decades. These regions of the retina reflect the cell apoptosis by having decreased nuclei in the outer nuclear layer. An exam of the retina is done using an indirect ophthalmoscope, an instrument that enables the doctor to examine the different parts of the eye through a dilated pupil. An exam of the retina is done using an indirect ophthalmoscope, an instrument that enables the doctor to examine the different parts of the eye through a dilated pupil. RP is a group of inherited disorders in which abnormalities of the photoreceptors ( rods and cones ) or the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) of the retina lead to progressive visual loss. Histopathologic changes in RP have been well documented, and, more recently, specific histologic changes associated with certain gene mutations are being reported.

Causes of Retinitis Pigmentosa

There are various factors which give rise to the disease Retinitis Pigmentosa. RP may be caused by a breakdown in the function of the rods or the cones in some part of the retina. The retina is so complex that breakdowns may occur in a variety of ways and so RP is not a single disorder but a great number of disorders. The breakdown of cone function may be called Macular Degeneration. There are other disorders similar to RP like Gyrate Atrophy, Choroideremia etc. The common feature is the degeneration of the retina for one reason or another.

Symptoms of Retinitis Pigmentosa

Some of the common sign and symptoms of the diseaseRetinitis Pigmentosa are as follows:

  • Vision decreased at night or in reduced lightl.
  • Loss of peripheral vision.
  • Loss of central vision.

Treatment of Retinitis Pigmentosa

Find effective treatment methods of treating Retinitis Pigmentosa :

  • These photoreceptors developed and made the necessary neural connections to the animal's retinal nerve cells, a key step in the restoration of sight .
  • Controversial studies have suggested that treatment with antioxidant agents may delay the disease from getting worse.
  • There is no standard treatment for retinitis pigmentosa.
  • A blood test must be taken to ascertain liver function and Vitamin A levels in the blood BEFORE taking this treatment.