What is Retinitis Pigmentosa?
Retinitis Pigmentosa is a genetic disorder that affects the cells within the retina. These photoreceptor cells produce essential proteins that are required in order to see. Photoreceptor cells are responsible for color visualization, clarity of vision, and vision in the central visual field. These cells are found in retinal tissue and functions as a visual phototransduction i.e., it converts light into electrical signals for the stimulation of biological processes of the visual system. This genetic mutation sometimes makes these photoreceptor cells unable to produce this protein or create a protein that is unusable. This results in degeneration of the rods and cones in your eye. Photoreceptor cells consist mainly of three types, rods, cones and ganglion cells. Rods and cones are acting in contributing visual information to the eye for the representation of the visual sight. Retinitis Pigmentosa is rare and is estimated to affect about 1 in 4000 individuals.
What are the symptoms?
The early stage of RP is indicated by degeneration of the photoreceptor rod cells which results in decreased electrical signals for visualization, loss of night vision, gradual loss of peripheral or side vision, loss of central vision, problems in color vision and can eventually lead to blindness after several years. Sensitivity to bright light, sight difficulty in darkness and vision loss are commonly seen in patients affected by Retinitis pigmentosa.
What can you do?
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms it is advised to make an appointment with our physicians; Dr. James Khodabakhsh or Dr. John Hofbauer at Beverly Hills Institute of Ophthalmology. Next, it is necessary to get a diagnosis. This can be done through Electroretinogram (ERG) testing, visual field testing, or genetic testing. If diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa there are many services available to those experiencing vision loss, these services help maintain independence.