Retinitis Pigmentosa

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Retinitis Pigmentosa (pigmentosis) is a progressive degenerative disorder of the photoreceptors and/or epithelium pigment of the retina that can cause a profound loss of vision. Various hereditary patterns have been reported. This disease affects 1 out of 3700 people.

Self Help & Tips


The typical symptoms include decreased night vision and peripheral vision, usually starting in the first or second decade of life. Marked loss of vision occurs over many years but may develop slowly. The diagnosis is made by a thorough eye examination and a special test called an electroretinogram, or "ERG".

retinitis pigmentosa


Retinitis pigmentosa is caused by rod and cone photoreceptor or retinal pigment epithelium mutations or abnormalities in the retina.

Retinitis pigmentosa often runs in families. The disorder can be caused by a number of genetic defects.

Many genes can mutate and result in the characteristic retinitis pigmentosa. One mutation is of the gene controlling rhodopsin, a pigment with a critical role in the vision process, that allows vision to work in low-light conditions. Since this discovery, in 1989, 100 other mutations have been found, that account for variations of retinal deterioration. Most of those mutations are recessively inherited - that is, the mutated gene must come from both parents.

Conventional Treatment

Although considered incurable, the progression of this condition can be reduced by the daily intake of 15000 IU (equivalent to 4.5 mg) of vitamin A palmitate.13 Recent studies have demonstrated that proper vitamin A supplementation can postpone blindness due to retinitis pigmentosa by up to 10 years. Other studies have shown supplementing with nutrients such omega-3 fatty acid, DHA, lutein, vitamins E, C and alpha lipoic acid can help preserve vision.

Future treatments may involve gene therapy (some of which already have "orphan drug" status - for drugs that treat rare diseases), artificial retinal implants, retinal transplants, stem cells, nutritional supplements, and/or drug therapies. A 2012 animal study replaced photoreceptor cells where no host cells remained with transplanted rod precursor cells that reformed an anatomically distinct photoreceptor layer.14

Do not take impotence drugs such as Viagra. Viagra obstructs an enzyme that sends light signals from the retina to the brain. Doctors have known for several years that it could cause temporary vision problems in healthy men, but a new Australian study found its effects can be permanent. "The study shows that sildenafil may cause permanent damage," study leader Dr. Lisa Nivison-Smith told Newsmax Health. This study appears in the journal "Experimental Eye Research".

Self Help

Since we consider most eye conditions to be a reflection of the health of the whole body, lifestyle choices and diet can play a major factor in cultivating and maintaining good vision. Below are some recommendations:

Retinitis Pigmentosa Vitamins Find Vitamins & Supplements to support the photoreceptors.


See footnotes and research on retinitis pigmentosa.

More footnotes

13. Vitamin A (2004), DHA, Omega-3 Fatty Acid and Retinitis Pigmentosa, Vitamins A / E (1993) & Retinitis Pigmentosa
14. Reversal of end-stage retinal degeneration and restoration of visual function by photoreceptor transplantation, Singh, et al, Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2013 Jan 3, Epub.