Retinitis pigmentosa treatment

As human beings, there is very little more universally feared than the dark, and few disabilities more frightening than blindness which would leave us trapped in it. Retinitis pigmentosa is a condition which, to many people, might sound like a nightmare. Retinitis pigmentosa refers to a group of genetic conditions in which the eye progressively degenerates over time. The first symptoms of retinitis pigmentosa are night blindness. This night blindness worsens over time, eventually developing into tunnel vision which little by little narrows the sufferer’s peripheral vision until finally they become legally – and perhaps totally – blind.

Progression is different in each case of retinitis pigmentosa. The night blindness phase of the disease can proceed tunnel vision by years or even decades, and many people with retinitis pigmentosa do not legally go blind until their forties or fifties. Some never retain some level of vision throughout their lives. At the same time, others may go blind as early as during childhood.

Retinitis pigmentosa diagnosis come as a fearful shock to some people, which is why retinitis pigmentosa treatments are so important.

Since time out of mind, people have struggled to treat the diseases around them. They have relied on everything from superstition, prayer, spells and religious chants to herbal remedies, surgeries and medicines, some of which are still in use today. Unfortunately for people before the modern era, there was very little to be done for loss of sight. Our ancestors had very few options in terms of treatment for retinitis pigmentosa. Retinitis pigmentosa is caused by abnormalities in the receptors in the eye, the rods and cones which allow us to see color, light and movement. As these abnormalities increase over time, the sufferer’s eyesight diminishes. There was very little for even our grandfathers and grandmothers to do when faced with this sort of disease. It has only been recently that our understanding of how the eye works, our understanding of how the body as a whole operates, and our technology has reached a point where retinitis pigmentosa treatments have become something of a reality and moved out of the realms of witchcraft and hope.

Retinitis pigmentosa treatments are still relatively few. There is no true cure for retinitis pigmentosa, only treatments which may help to slow the progression of this degenerative disease.

Among the first treatment options for people diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa are medications and supplements. For example, vitamin A therapies can support eye health and slow the progression of this disease. People who receive these should have their liver enzymes checked annually, since in too great of doses, vitamin A can become toxic to the system. Other retinitis pigmentosa treatment options include omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid and antioxidant, docosahexaenoic acid, acetazolamide, lutein, and calcium blockers.

In the event that medication proves an ineffective retinitis pigmentosa treatment, there are also surgical treatments to consider. What kind of surgical options a patient may have for their retinitis pigmentosa treatment depends on many factors, as the progression of the disease varies greatly from person to person, and as the disease is associated with a number of other genetic and structural conditions. For some people, partial retinal transplants can be a useful retinitis pigmentosa treatment. The possibility of a retinal prosthetics have also been under consideration for several years now. While there are currently no prosthetics available for clinical use as retinitis pigmentosa treatment, they may present a promising future for those with this degenerative disease.

Since retinitis pigmentosa is a genetic disorder, it should not be surprising that when considering retinitis pigmentosa treatments, speculation might turn to the possibilities of gene therapy and stem cell research. These treatments are, as yet, still in the research and investigation phases, but may well represent the future of retinitis pigmentosa treatment.

Last updated on Aug 6th, 2010 and filed under Vision Care. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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