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Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP)

Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is an inherited, degenerative eye disease that causes severe vision impairment. RP is caused by abnormalities of the photoreceptors (rods and cones).

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: Wikipedia)

About Retinitis Pigmentosa

Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a group of rare, genetic disorders that involve a breakdown and loss of cells in the retina—which is the light sensitive tissue that lines the back of the eye. Common symptoms include difficulty seeing at night and a loss of side (peripheral) vision.

The retina is the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye that contains photoreceptors and other cell types.

What causes RP?

RP is an inherited disorder that results from harmful changes in any one of more than 50 genes. These genes carry the instructions for making proteins that are needed in cells within the retina, called photoreceptors. Some of the changes, or mutations, within genes are so severe that the gene cannot make the required protein, limiting the cellís function. Other mutations produce a protein that is toxic to the cell. Still other mutations lead to an abnormal protein that doesn't function properly. In all three cases, the result is damage to the photoreceptors. NIH - National Eye Institute

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Use of vitamin A and fish oils for retinitis pigmentosa

We investigated how well vitamin A and fish oils work in delaying the progression of visual loss in people with retinitis pigmentosa (RP), and whether these treatments are safe.

The evidence for efficacy of omega-3 fatty acids in preventing or slowing the progression of retinitis pigmentosa: a systematic review

BACKGROUND: Studies in preterm and term human infants have suggested that a dietary supply of omega-3 fatty acids is essential for optimal visual development. Several basic science studies support the hypothesis that omega-3 fatty acids may be useful therapeutic agents for pathologies of the retina and lens. As part of a systematic review of the effect of omega-3 fatty acids on eye health, the purpose of this study was to conduct a systematic review of the scientific-medical literature to appraise and synthesize the evidence for the effects of omega-3 fatty acids in preventing the development or progression of retinitis pigmentosa.

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Summaries for consumers

Use of vitamin A and fish oils for retinitis pigmentosa

We investigated how well vitamin A and fish oils work in delaying the progression of visual loss in people with retinitis pigmentosa (RP), and whether these treatments are safe.

Terms to know

Cone Cells
Any of the photoreceptor cells in the retina that are responsible for color vision in relatively bright light.
Photoreceptor Cells (Photosensitive Cells)
A photoreceptor cell is a specialized type of neuron found in the retina. Photoreceptors convert light into signals that can stimulate biological processes. The two classic photoreceptor cells are rods and cones, each contributing information used by the visual system.
Retina
The light-sensitive tissue lining at the back of the eye. The retina converts light into electrical impulses that are sent to the brain through the optic nerve.
Rod Cells
A rod-shaped cell in the eye that is sensitive to light. The rods are more sensitive than the cones, but do not discern color.

More about Retinitis Pigmentosa

Photo of an adult

Other terms to know: See all 4
Cone Cells, Photoreceptor Cells (Photosensitive Cells), Retina

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