If your ophthalmologist diagnoses you with retinitis pigmentosa, you may wonder if there's anything you can do to improve your vision. Retinitis pigmentosa is a degenerative eye disease that can lead to the complete loss of your vision. Learning as much as you can about the disease may help you get through it, as well as slow down it's progression. Here are things to know about retinitis pigmentosa and tips to slow it down.
What's Retinitis Pigmentosa and How Can It Affect You?
Retinitis pigmentosa develops when the retinas slowly deteriorate. The Retinas are the tissues in your eyes that receive and convey light through specialized cells called cones and rods. If the retinas weaken or detach from the back of the eyes, the cones or rods can't receive light properly. In the case of retinitis pigmentosa, both types of cells deteriorate over time.
You eventually lose the ability to see out of the corners of your eyes, which is your peripheral vision. Peripheral vision is very important, because it gives you the ability to see objects that may harm you, such as when you drive on a busy street filled with speeding cars and trucks. If you lose your peripheral vision completely, you may only have the ability to focus on objects centered directly in front of you.
In addition to losing your peripheral vision, you develop problems seeing in low to no lighting. For example, you may bump into the walls of your home at night. If you're an older individual, the bumps you experience at home can cause bone fractures and other health problems.
The symptoms of retinitis pigmentosa can vary from person to person. But you may experience mild to intense headaches and eye strain as the disease progresses.
Can Retinitis Pigmentosa Affect Your Kids or Grandkids?
Retinitis pigmentosa is a rare eye disease that you inherit from a parent or grandparent. However, most diagnosed cases of retinitis pigmentosa pass from parent to child, which means that there's a chance you can pass it along to your children.
One of the most important things to understand about retinitis pigmentosa is that it can manifest in children as young as 10 years of age. If you have young children at home, be aware of how they move about the house. Children who develop symptoms of retinitis pigmentosa may squint their eyes to see objects and when they read books or watch television. They may even ignore your presence if they lose their peripheral vision.
It's a good idea that you ask your eye doctor to examine your kids' eyes regularly. Slowing down the disease's progression may be the only way to control it.
Is Retinitis Pigmentosa Curable?
Currently, there is no cure, surgery or medication that can successfully reverse or stop retinitis pigmentosa. However, researchers and eye doctors continue to work toward a cure through clinical trials and studies. Your eye doctor can prescribe vitamins and other supplements, such as vitamin A, to keep your retinitis pigmentosa from progressing too fast.
Vitamin A contains antioxidants that help fight free radicals, which are cells that don't develop properly in the body. Free radicals can make your disease worse if they grow out of control and take over the healthy cells that still remain in your retinas. Vitamin A helps control this problem by removing the free radicals from your eyes' tissues.
Eating a healthy diet of fresh vegetables, such as carrots, kale and spinach, that contain vitamin A may be of help to you. But it's a good idea that you consume your vegetables raw to receive the best benefits. Vegetables may lose many of their nutrients when you cook them. If you don't like uncooked vegetables, you can steam them over low heat instead.
If you need to know more about your eye condition, speak to an ophthalmologist, like those at the Advanced Retinal Institute Inc, today.