Retinal Disorder: Retinitis Pigmentosa
can come in many forms and degrees. Retinitis
pigmentosa is a very rare retinal disorder that causes
degeneration of your retina. Unfortunately, this condition will continue
to degenerate to the point of extreme loss of sight.
On the other hand, it is easier to diagnose this condition because more
often than not, it is genetic. In fact, if both parents do not have this
retinal disorder, yet carry the altered gene, it can surface in the child.
In the United States, approximately 1% of the population carry this altered
gene but do not have this problem. As early as possible, if there is any
history of this retinal disorder, parents-to-be are advised to seek genetic
counseling to help them deal with the possibility of having a child with
It usually starts showing symptoms at an early age when the child’s vision
starts to narrow and has difficulty seeing at night. The peripheral vision
will also be affected and can get worse over time. The last stage before
total blindness is when the central vision is very minimal and the child
can barely see with minimal tunnel vision remaining.
Most ophthalmologist will consider other conditions that can occur with
retinitis pigmentosa. It is commonly seen as a group of diseases, and
not often happens as an individual eye problem. For instance, cataracts
can develop, even at an early age. Usher Syndrome which is a condition
that affects the hearing is also common among those suffering from retinitis
At present, treatment
for retinitis pigmentosa has yet to be found. Once damage
has affected the sight, it cannot be reversed. However, if you have any
history of eye problems in either parent, visiting an ophthalmologist
early and consistently over time for an eye exam to check your child’s
eyes is highly recommended.
An ophthalmologist can conduct an eye exam on the retina and check the
responses of the retina to light. Some doctors will recommend supplemental
vitamins known to aid eyesight like Vitamin A, but there is no real evidence
that it can stop this retinal condition.
Other medical experts would rather ask the patient to try vision devices
like sunglasses to protect the eyes from UV rays and slow down the progress
of this condition. These devices can help them see, and slowly accept
their condition as early as possible.
At present, there are studies being conducted to find drugs to treat
this condition, as well as retinal implants through eye surgery. There
are even studies on artificial retina as an alternative to implants. Any
other kind of eye surgery at the moment, like laser, is not yet an option.
Family members should be examined so that the inheritance pattern can
be determined if possible. If the disorder is present in other family
members, genetic counseling should be considered before having children.
No conventional treatment can reverse retinal damage. Vitamin A Some Trade
Names AQUASOL A is recommended by some doctors in an attempt to slow the
progression of the disorder. Gene therapy and implantable cells that make
a compound to nourish the retina are under investigation.