The retina is the light-sensitive tissue lining the back of an individual’s eye. Retinitis pigmentosa is the name for a group of rare genetic disorders that cause the retinal cells to break down and die. The condition is inherited and might be caused by mutations in one of over fifty potential genes. These are the genes responsible for creating proteins necessary for the retinal cells. These cells, called photoreceptors, help filter light and collect visual data. In some cases, the gene mutations are severe enough that the body doesn’t create the necessary protein at all, so the cells can’t function as they should. With other mutations, the body produces a protein that’s toxic and kills the cell. There are also mutations that might cause abnormal proteins that aren’t absorbed properly.
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Takes Longer To Adjust To The Dark
When retinitis pigmentosa is in its earliest stages, the rods in the patient’s eyes are more seriously affected than the cones. Each eye has three cones that allow individuals to see the full-color spectrum in daylight. However, the rods are used to help differentiate shapes in low light and darkness. When the rods are affected, it takes longer to adjust to the dark. Patients tend to experience night blindness, a condition where they can’t see during the night in conditions others don’t have trouble with. The night blindness tends to affect both near and far vision, as opposed to night myopia, which only causes issues with nearsightedness. If an individual has a family history of retinitis pigmentosa and notices their night vision getting worse, they should see their optometrist.
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