Retinitis pigmentosa

background

Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a group of eye diseases that affect the retina. The retina, which is located at the back of the eye, sends visual images to the brain where they are perceived. The cells in the retina that receive the visual images are called photoreceptors. There are two types of photoreceptors: rods (which are responsible for vision in low light) and cones (which are responsible for color vision and detail in high light).
In RP, the photoreceptors progressively lose function. Side vision, called peripheral vision, slowly worsens over time. Night vision is also affected. Central vision typically declines in the advanced stages of the disease.
Most cases of retinitis pigmentosa are inherited. However, some people develop the disease even if they have no family history. Others may develop the condition as part of another disorder, such as Kornzweig disease, Kearn-Sayre syndrome, Waardenburg syndrome, Alport syndrome, or Refsum disease.
Signs of RP can usually be detected during a routine eye exam when the patient is around 10 years old. However, symptoms usually do not develop until adolescence.
Worldwide, RP is thought to affect roughly one out of 5,000 people.
Although the disease worsens over time, most patients retain at least partial vision, and complete blindness is rare. There is currently no known cure or effective treatment for retinitis pigmentosa, but there are some possible ways to manage the condition.

Related Terms

Alport syndrome, Bassen-Kornzweig disease, blindness, central vision, eye disease, eye disorder, Kearn-Sayre syndrome, Kornzweig disease, night blindness, peripheral vision, pigmentary maculopathy, pigmentary retinopathy, Refsum disease, RP, subcapsular cataracts, Waardenburg syndrome, vitamin A.