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What is retinitis pigmentosa (RP)?
RP is a group of inherited conditions where there is damage to the retina. The first signs and symptoms can show up between childhood to around 35 years of age.

Diagram of the eye
Diagram of the eye

What happens in RP?
In RP, there is damage to the outside of the retina, and sometimes the central retina is affected too. People with RP struggle significantly in dim or dark conditions, sometimes referred to as “night-blindness.” There is also difficulty seeing “from the corner of the eye” i.e. the side vision is affected. If the central retina is affected, then making out detail such reading or recognising faces can also be difficult.

How quickly does RP progress?
This can be variable amongst individuals and the different types of RP. Most people will suffer significant symptoms but do retain useful vision to the later years of life.

What is the treatment for RP?
There have been lots of discoveries as to which genes cause RP, but there is still some information that needs to be discovered. Currently, no cure has been found, but research is always moving fast and we are positively hopeful that something may be discovered in the near future.

Can I drive if I have RP?
Safety is paramount when it comes to driving. If one struggles to see comfortably at night, or has reduced side or central vision, then it is unlikely that they are suitable to drive. Always get professional advice from your eye care practitioner regarding this.

Last words
If you or someone you know has any concerns regarding night-vision, visit your eyecare practitioner and raise this issue so a full assessment may be carried out. 

Useful link: visit RP Fighting Blindness for the latest updates on RP.

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