All the diseases involve the eye’s retina. The retina is the nerve layer that lines the back of the eye that is sensitive to light. All the diseases cause a slow but sure loss or decline in eyesight.
What causes retinitis pigmentosa?
Retinitis pigmentosa is part of a group of eye diseases that are passed down in families. All of them affect the ability of the retina to sense light. The problem with the retina can take place in any of the following:
What are the symptoms of retinitis pigmentosa?
The symptoms of retinitis pigmentosa usually begin in childhood or adolescence. However, each person may experience symptoms differently. Some people with the problem have a slow, very progressive loss of eyesight. Others lose their eyesight much more quickly and severely. Common symptoms may include:
Hard time seeing in poor lighting or in the dark
A reduced ability to see either central vision or side or peripheral vision
Hard time reading print
Hard time figuring out detailed images
Hard time with stumbling or tripping over objects not seen
The symptoms of the condition may look like other eye diseases. Talk with your eye doctor for a diagnosis.
How is retinitis pigmentosa diagnosed?
Your eye doctor will take a complete medical history and give you an eye exam. The eye doctor may do one or more of the following tests to make a diagnosis:
How is retinitis pigmentosa treated?
Your eye doctor will figure out the best treatment for you based on:
Your overall health and medical history
How sick you are
How well you can handle specific medications, procedures, or therapies
How long the condition is expected to last
Your opinion or preference
The symptoms of retinitis pigmentosa sometimes look like other conditions or medical problems. Always see your eye doctor for a diagnosis.
At this time, there is no specific treatment for retinitis pigmentosa. However, protecting your eye’s retina by using UV sunglasses may help delay the start of symptoms. Talk with your eye doctor for more information.
What are the complications of retinitis pigmentosa?
Retinitis pigmentosa causes a progressive loss of eyesight. It may happen slowly or more quickly.
Living with retinitis pigmentosa
Retinitis pigmentosa is a progressive condition. This means that it will continue to get worse over time. Talk with your eye doctor to get information on services and devices for people with low vision.
When should I call my health care provider?
If your symptoms get worse or you have new symptoms, call your eye doctor.
Key points about retinitis pigmentosa
Retinitis pigmentosa is a group of eye disorders that are inherited and involve the eye’s retina
Retinitis pigmentosa causes a slow but sure loss or decline in eyesight
Symptoms, including loss of vision or visual sharpness, usually begin in childhood or adolescence
Currently, there are no treatments for retinitis pigmentosa
The use of UV sunglasses may help delay the start of symptoms
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your health care provider:
Before your visit, write down questions you want answered.
Bring someone with you to help you ask questions and remember what your provider tells you.
At the visit, write down the names of new medicines, treatments, or tests, and any new instructions your provider gives you.
If you have a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose for that visit.
Know how you can contact your provider if you have questions.