Definition: Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is the name for a group of eye diseases. RP causes the thin layer of tissue in the back of the eye, which is called the retina, to deteriorate. RP diseases are genetic and are passed down from one or both parents.
RP damages the cells in the retina that sense light. RP mutates the genes of the rod cells of the retina and they slowly stop working. As the rod cells stop working, peripheral vision is slowly lost until you can only see a small tunnel of vision straight ahead. RP can cause serious vision loss.
Symptoms: Symptoms of RP are not limited to any one age group. The first signs may appear in adulthood, but usually appear during childhood or adolescence. The two most common symptoms of RP that you should watch for are:
- You are slow to adapt to dim light (night blindness)
- You have a slow loss of side vision.
Early detection of Retinitis Pigmentosa helps people to plan for the disease and any loss of sight.