The term retinitis pigmentosa (RP) refers to a category of rare diseases that happen to the retina, a thin layer of tissue at the particular back associated with your eye that helps turn light into signals that get sent to your brain. When you have RP, cells in your retina degrade over a long period of time, which can make it harder for a person to see.

Most people with RP are born with it, as it’s the genetic condition passed down in families. You may not notice the most obvious symptoms of RP until later within childhood. But the symptoms often become more noticeable with age plus result in a significant amount of vision loss over time.

There is currently no cure for RP, but there are many options to help you improve your vision and train yourself to use your vision in a way that accommodates your eyesight loss. Read on to learn more about this condition’s causes, symptoms, plus treatments.

RP doesn’t have a clear cause yet, yet it results from mutations or differences within genes that will affect the photoreceptor cells in your retina. These cells are responsible for helping you see colors and adjust to low light.

RP damages these cells, which make it more difficult for you to see throughout your life. But researchers and doctors aren’t sure exactly what triggers these changes in your own genes.

There’s some research that suggests that RP can also result from:

  • Medications: A 2019 research review showed that medications called phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors, such as sildenafil (Viagra), may link to worsening conditions like RP in people who may have gene mutations that increase their risk of developing RP.
  • Infections: RP involves a RPGR gene mutation. An upper respiratory tract infection, such as chronic sinusitis, can trigger the gene, resulting in RP symptoms.
  • Injuries to the particular eye: A 2012 study suggested that will injuries in order to the vision can result in long-term retina damage, potentially leading to the onset of RP symptoms.
  • Other genetic conditions: Usher syndrome is another genetic situation that commonly associates along with RP and other symptoms such as deafness or even difficulty staying balanced while walking.

The signs and symptoms of RP typically become noticeable when you’re still young.

While some individuals with RP may experience a slow symptom progression, RP symptoms can furthermore appear without warning plus progress quickly — especially as you get older.

Here are some of the most common associated with RP:

  • significant vision loss at night or in dim, low lighting even when your vision during the day or inside bright lights seems to remain the same
  • attention adjustment difficulties when you go from environments with bright light in to environments along with dim lighting or no light at all
  • peripheral vision loss, which involves eyesight loss along the top and bottom edges and left and right sides of your visual field
  • visual field narrowing until a person can only observe what’s directly in front of you
  • difficulty viewing the differences between colors
  • trouble seeing within bright lamps or becoming highly sensitive to bright lights

Experts currently do not know precisely how many people with RP will encounter total blindness over period. But most people with RP will experience some form of partial vision reduction, including a loss associated with night vision, sometimes known as night loss of sight.

People with Usher syndrome may have a much higher risk of vision loss over time as a result of RP. Usher syndrome is another rare condition that can trigger vision reduction, hearing loss, and problems with balance.

Nearly 50% of people who are usually blind plus deaf have Usher symptoms. Many people who have kind 3 Usher syndrome can turn out to be fully blind during their adulthood.

There is currently no cure with regard to RP. But you can treat the symptoms of RP to assist you adapt to your gradual loss associated with vision or even difficulty seeing in different levels of illumination.

Here are some treatments and lifestyle changes you may try to help reduce the impact that RP has on your daily life:

  • Contact an eye care professional: An ophthalmologist or optometrist can help you decide what your prescription is and find glasses to help you see better.
  • Take supplements: These may include vitamin The, fish oil, or even lutein to help keep your eyes healthy — just be sure to ask a doctor or eye specialist whether these types of supplements might increase your own risk regarding liver conditions or other side effects.
  • Consume turmeric in your diet: Turmeric contains a substance called curcumin that can help slow the process of eyesight loss.
  • Try eyewear with anti-glare coatings: Use glasses or even sunglasses with any features that will help reduce the intensity of bright lighting.
  • Make use of adjustable lights: Using light bulbs or light fixtures along with adjustable or dimmable lights controls can create a comfortable environment to see at home or even at work.
  • Use a magnifying device: This can help when reading small print.
  • Increase screen text size and thickness: Your computer or mobile device settings and accessibility functions will help you do this.
  • Rearrange your furniture: Rearranging furnishings at home and work can assist you possess clear, wide spaces in order to walk through and less risk of running directly into objects that will can cause frustration or even injury.

There is currently simply no cure intended for RP. Yet there are some promising clinical trials on the horizon looking closely at the genes that result in RP.

First, talk with a genetic counselor to have them analyze your genome so that you can better understand the mutations within your genes that cause RP. The affected genes influence possible future treatments . The genetics that RP can affect include:

  • RPE65: Researchers are usually currently studying a medication called voretigene neparvovec-rzyl (Luxturna) that can help stand in to get the RPE65 gene that will helps the retina sense light.
  • RPGR: A doctor or surgeon removes the particular vitreous, jelly-like fluid inside your eye, plus injects new RPGR gene versions to improve your retina function.
  • USH2A: People along with Usher syndrome may benefit from a treatment called QR-421a, which researchers are presently studying. This particular injection may help increase your sight by replacing USH2A gene variations that don’t produce the USH2A protein.

Another experimental treatment includes a pair of goggles that provide you with optogenetic therapy — along with an injection, this therapy helps replace the function of the retina in sensing light and seeing contrasts between objects.

RP will be a hereditary condition passed on in families. It has no clear cause, plus medications, infections, or eyesight injuries trigger it.

Talk with a physician if you’re concerned that you may be in risk associated with developing RP or if you notice symptoms of RP, like vision loss or light sensitivity, that disrupt your own existence.

If you’re the parent who has RP, you may also want in order to meet with a genetic counselor, who can conduct tests to see if you can pass the particular genes to your children.

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