Patient Education: Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP)
Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a group of hereditary eye disorders that affect the retina. In RP, sight loss is gradual but progressive. It is unusual for people with RP to become totally blind as most retain some useful vision well into old age.
The most common symptom is difficulty in seeing in poor light such as outdoors at dusk or in a dimly lit room. A second symptom is reduction of the visual field, in which sight is lost from the sides or from above and below. This is often referred to as tunnel vision.
In some RP-related conditions, central vision is lost first. The first sign of this is difficulty in reading print or carrying out detailed work. All RP conditions are progressive, but the speed at which deterioration takes place varies from one person to another.
Unfortunately, there are no known treatments to prevent or slow the progression of RP. However, it is important to have regular follow-ups to promptly diagnose other treatable eye problems.