Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a group of inherited eye diseases that can lead to severe visual problems. This disorder is named for the irregular clumps of black pigment that occur in the retina.
In most forms of retinitis pigmentosa, cells in the retina called "rods" die. This leads to impaired night vision, as well as a decrease in ability to see things off to the side while looking ahead (peripheral vision). In some forms of RP, other retinal cells called "cones" die. This leads to a decrease in central and color vision. In all forms of RP, vision loss usually progresses over a period of many years. Loss of vision is usually first noted in childhood or early adulthood.
Conventional medicine for retinitis pigmentosa is largely limited to vision aids.
Proposed Natural Treatments for Retinitis Pigmentosa
No natural treatments have been proven effective for retinitis pigmentosa, but some approaches have shown a bit of promise.
The substance lutein
A large (over 600 participant) double-blind, placebo-controlled trial found evidence that use of
Herbs and Supplements to Use Only With Caution
In the large vitamin A study noted above, some participants were given vitamin E
1. Bahrami H, Melia M, Dagnelie G et al. Lutein supplementation in retinitis pigmentosa: PC-based vision assessment in a randomized double-masked placebo-controlled clinical trial [NCT00029289]. BMC Ophthalmol 2006 Jun 7 [Epub ahead of print]
Last reviewed April 2009 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
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