RP Basics

Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) results in the degeneration and then death of the photoreceptor cells in the retina (the light-sensitive lining at the back of the eye), called rods and cones, which in turn leads to failing vision and ultimately, in severe cases, in blindness.

RP is genetic (hereditary, inherited) and can be passed from generation to generation. How this happens and the risks of your child having RP are explained in the genetics section of the main RP Fighting Blindness website.

With RP sight loss is, typically, initially peripheral, though on occasions central vision may deteriorate first. The pattern of sight loss varies as does its speed. In many cases, and often early on, RP also causes night blindness.

RP affects people of all ages, even children. In fact it is one of the most significant causes of sight loss in people of working age. It affects men and women of all races (though the condition is more prevalent amongst people in some ethnic groups) and there are estimated to be some 25,000 affected people in the UK.

You may hear many different terms used to label or describe RP, these are explained on the next page. Whatever the terminology used this patient pathway, and other resources provided by RP Fighting Blindness, will be helpful and relevant.

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