Retinitis Pigmentosa - Symptoms

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What are retinitis pigmentosa symptoms and signs?

Since retinitis pigmentosa begins as rod degeneration, the patient first notices increasing difficulty in night vision, followed by difficulty seeing in the periphery. Slowly progressive constriction of the visual field leads to tunnel vision. A small area of central vision in both eyes usually persists for years. Generally night blindness precedes tunnel vision by years or even decades. Total blindness eventually ensues in most cases. The age of appearance of legal blindness ranges from as early as childhood to as late as the 40s.

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Comment from: Lewis, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: March 03

I was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa (RP) in 2001, I am now 43. It is very hard to go out in public. I'm always tripping over people or running into the pole. People that don't know me get very upset when I bump into them. I sometime think I need to ask my doctor about using a walking stick. But then other people with RP are worse off than I am. I'm very thankful that I can still see.

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Comment from: FLAWRA, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: January 21

I was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa (RP) at 14 and I am now 44. I have lived a full life. I still work running my own business, married, travel all the time, and refuse to give in to this disease. Your strong will is important! I first started by bumping into people and objects. Then the night vision set in. Rods floating in my vision. You see less than what a normal person sees threw a straw. You have difficulty with stairs and depth perception. I had a cataract surgery two years ago. I think my other eye is due for cataract surgery. I saw halos of light. Before the cataract surgery I used to see the traffic light as four green lights, and after the surgery it is sharp and clear. The central vision is getting worse and the peripheral vision is less. I am a very hard working independent person so the worse part of the vision loss is not driving and having to wait for people to take me to places. Oh yes the best way to deal with this disease is to let people know you have it and what to expect so when you ram into them they are not upset instead they understand and are helpful. Your attitude matters, everyone loves me and wants to help and hold on to me to get to places. I just went to Rome last summer with my niece and had a blast going up and down the stairs there (over 500 stairs at the Vatican alone)! Don't let this disease stop you from living. Enjoy every moment of vision you have. See what's out there and memorize it in case you can't see anymore.

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