Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is the name given to a group of inherited eye conditions that affect the retina at the back of the eye. RP causes permanent changes to your vision. It is the most common inherited eye condition, affecting 1 in 4,000.
RP is caused by a gene mutation generally inherited from a person’s parents. The faulty genes cause your retinal cells to stop working and eventually die. This affects your eye’s ability to process the light that enters it.
An optometrist will examine your retina to detect RP. To do this, they will look into your eyes using either a special microscope called a slit lamp or an instrument called an ophthalmoscope. If you notice a change in your vision, make an appointment see your optician straightaway. If they see signs of RP you will be referred to an eye specialist called an ophthalmologist.
Some people with RP also develop cataracts. A cataract occurs when the lens inside your eye becomes cloudy. It can make your vision blurred and yellowed. You can find bright lights dazzling and have problems with glare on a sunny day or from car headlights. The cloudiness in the lens grows gradually over time.
The RNIB have a Retinitis pigmentosa guide that can be downloaded here.