Retinitis pigmentosa refers to a group of inherited eye diseases causing the degradation of the retina, the part of the eye responsible for interpreting images and transmitting them onto the brain. When retinitis pigmentosa develops, the cells, which are called rods and cones, die. The loss of visual fields begins as a ring-like distortion in the side vision. Throughout the course of this degenerative eye disease, the central vision is also lost, and the result is tunnel vision. As a result of this progression, patients are told not to drive, even in the early stages.
Retinitis pigmentosa is a rare condition affecting about 1 in 4,000 people in the United States.
Sadly, there are no viable treatment options for retinitis pigmentosa; however, we always recommend that patients wear ultra-violet light protecting sunglasses to help preserve vision.