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Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) is a group of diseases

Updated: Monday, Jun 14,2010, 6:32:27 PM
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Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) is a group of diseases that affect the very delicate and thin tissue that makes up the retina.


Signs of RP usually show up during childhood and adolescence. that the first sign is usually loss of night vision followed by a loss of peripheral vision. As the disease progresses, the deterioration of peripheral vision worsens. People with RP may bump into objects, as they can only see straight ahead. Most cases of RP take a long time to develop and it could take years for loss of vision to be severe.

RP is considered one of the most common inherited causes of blindness in adults between the ages of 20 and 60.

People who suspect they may have RP should see an ophthalmologist. The ophthalmologist can perform several different vision tests including an electroretinogram to determine the condition of the retina. While early detection of the disease can be helpful in planning treatment, the disease is most difficult to diagnose in its earliest stages. that in some cases of the inherited form of RP, a blood test may help reveal whether an affected family member has one of several RP genes.

Related disorders

RP is not alone on the list of inherited retinal degenerative diseases. Some conditions share not only a problem with vision, but other symptoms as well. Usher syndrome for example, causes a loss of vision and hearing. there are several rare syndromes that researchers are studying. They include:

    * Bardet-Biedl Syndrome also known as Laurence-Moon Syndrome
    * Best Disease
    * choroideremia
    * gyrate-atrophy
    * Leber Congenital Amaurosis
    * Stargardt Disease


While researchers are currently working to better understand and treat RP and other inherited retinal degenerative diseases, there is no known cure of this group of disorders. Researchers however have found that vitamin A and lutein may slow the rate of deterioration. there are also many new low vision aids that can help people maximize their vision. These include:

    * magnifying lenses
    * electronic magnifiers
    * night vision scopes
    * telescopic lenses

Experts advise seeking help from a doctor with experience in low vision rehabilitation.

Tags: Retinitis Pigmentosa

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