Eye Conditions and Treatment

Retinitis Pigmentosa is treated in the Retina Service

Retinitis Pigmentosa

More than 100,000 Americans are affected with one of a group of progressive night-blinding disorders collectively known as retinitis pigmentosa (RP). Night blindness refers to difficulty seeing in the dark; it is the initial symptom of RP and usually occurs within the first two decades of life. Within the third decade most patients will also experience some impairment of peripheral, or side vision, which in the majority of instances progresses to a profound loss. In addition, about half of all patients with RP will have variable degrees of cataracts.

Signs and Symptoms

  • History of night blindness
  • Loss in side vision
  • Characteristic pigmentary changes on examination of the retina
  • Electrical recording of retinal function-electroretinogram (ERG)

Treatment and Prevention

  • No known cure
  • Certain doses of vitamin A have been found to slightly slow the progression
  • The Illinois Eye & Ear Infirmary is the only center in Illinois to offer an implanted artificial retina, the Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System, which allows patients with very low or no vision to see shapes and movement
  • Research is still being done

Eye Facts logo linkFor a deeper understanding of the diagnosis and treatment plan for retinitis pigmentosa, see Retinitis Pigmentosa Eye Facts.