Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a group of inherited eye disorders that affect the retina and can cause progressive vision loss. RP is characterized by the gradual degeneration of the light-sensitive cells in the retina, called photoreceptors, which are responsible for detecting light and transmitting visual signals to the brain.
The most common form of RP is caused by genetic mutations that affect the production or function of the proteins that are involved in the visual process. The condition often runs in families and can be inherited in an autosomal dominant, autosomal recessive, or X-linked pattern.
Symptoms of RP usually begin with difficulty seeing in low light, followed by the gradual loss of peripheral vision. Over time, central vision may also be affected, leading to blindness in some cases. Other symptoms may include decreased color vision, difficulty with contrast sensitivity, and difficulty with night vision.
Currently, there is no cure for RP, but treatment options are available to help manage symptoms and slow the progression of the disease. These may include medications, nutritional supplements, low vision aids, and visual rehabilitation therapy. In some cases, gene therapy and retinal implants may also be options for those with RP.
If you suspect that you or a loved one may have RP, it is important to seek evaluation and treatment from a qualified eye care professional. Early detection and management of RP can help to preserve vision and improve quality of life.