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Am J Ophthalmol. 1988 May 15;105(5):504-11.

Clinical findings and common symptoms in retinitis pigmentosa.

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  • 1Jules Stein Eye Institute, Los Angeles, CA 90024.


Data analysis was performed in a prospective study of clinical symptoms and findings in 500 patients with retinitis pigmentosa. The symptoms and findings in these patients met the usual definitions of the disease. At initial examination the patients were questioned in a standardized manner; symptoms and associated health problems were reviewed. Some patients were unable to answer all of the questions. Of the patients 274 (55%) were men and 226 (45%) were women, with a race distribution of 21 (4%) black, 47 (9%) Hispanic, 26 (5%) Oriental, three (1%) American Indian, and 403 (81%) white. Sixty-nine patients reported no symptoms of night blindness and 116 patients claimed no visual field changes; 90 stated that they saw better at dusk. The most common problem noted by 263 (53.3%) was headaches, 31 on a daily basis, 42 at least weekly, 124 infrequently, and the remainder nonspecifically. Numbness or tingling, mainly in extremities, was reported by 99 patients. The second most common problem affecting 170 patients (34.6%) was light flashes; since eight patients had retinal detachments, light flashes cannot be totally discounted. Of 143 patients who had been pregnant, 14 had visual changes.

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