Retinitis Pigmentosa: Symptoms, causes & treatment

An inherited disease that affects photoreceptor (light sensitive) cells that capture images from the visual field is referred to as Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP). These cells are lined in back region of the eye known as the retina.

Patients with a history of retinitis pigmentosa experience a gradual vision loss when two different types of photoreceptor cells namely rod and cone cells eventually dies. Rod cells are spread across the retina except for the centre and they assist with night vision.

While cone cells are also present throughout the retina, they’re clustered in central region; the macula useful for central (reading) and colour vision. In the course of retinitis pigmentosa, both cells cease to work causing vision loss and in extreme cases blindness.

If you’re facing vision abnormalities lately, don’t play idle and book an appointment with a retina specialist in Dubai.


When facing difficulty seeing in dim light or during transition from light to dark and vice versa, this is the earliest symptom of RP. Range of RP onset varies as some are diagnosed with the disease during early childhood while others aren’t affected till adulthood.

The condition slowly degenerates but degree of vision loss and progress rate varies from a person to another even if they’re of the same family. It’s recommended to have the eyes checked after every two months by a retina specialist in Dubai.

Cause & inheritance factors

With over 50 different genetic codes have been identified to cause RP and this is the reason it’s among the most complicated conditions of all. Various inheritance patterns include autosomal dominant (around 40 percent), X-Linked (nearly 15 percent) and autosomal recessive (approximately 60 percent).

Autosomal dominant form follow a milder path resulting is maintenance of the preserved vision in late middle age with X-Linked being severest form causing permanent vision loss. If any of the family member has been diagnosed with RP, immediate consultation with a retina specialist in Dubai is recommended to take preventive measures.


To maximise the remaining vision in the patient is the first step and there’re many low vision aids such as magnifying and telescopic lenses. Technological advancement has helped patients suffering from various eye, removed barriers to education and employment however initial consultation with a retina specialist in Dubai is crucial for appropriate diagnosis.

Therapeutic procedures are performed in clinical trials following the treatment or retinitis pigmentosa. The very term RP represents various diseases as scientists have discovered above 218 mutated genes causing the disease.

Each patient with RP has one damage pair of gene code and inserting healthy genes into the retina through harmless viruses is a way to treat whereas further researches over the process are underway. Keeping the photoreceptor cells alive through repurposed drugs is an approved procedure conducted by retinal specialists on RP patients.

Stem cell technology

Stem cell research and technology holds great potential to substitute dead retinal cells and the therapy is performed by replacing two different cells namely retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) and photoreceptive cells.


Regular check-up is advised for patients suffering from retinitis pigmentosa to prevent permanent vision loss.

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