What is Retinitis Pigmentosa?
Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is the name given to a group of
inherited eye diseases that affect the retina (the
light-sensitive part of the eye). RP causes the breakdown of
photoreceptor cells (cells in the retina that detect light).
Photoreceptor cells capture and process light helping us to
see. As these cells breakdown and die, patients experience
progressive vision loss.The most common feature of all
forms of RP is a gradual breakdown of rods (retinal cells that
detect dim light) and cones (retinal cells that detect light
and color). Most forms of retinitis pigmentosa first
cause the breakdown of rod cells. These forms of retinitis
pigmentosa , sometimes called rod-cone dystrophy, usually begin
with night blindness. Night blindness is somewhat like the
experience normally sighted individuals encounter when entering
a dark movie theatre on a bright, sunny day. However, patients
with retinitis pigmentosa cannot adjust well to dark and
dimly lit environments.