Retinitis Pigmentosa

By: Grace

A life with Retinitis Pigmentosa

A rare eye disease was found in a young boy named, Jeffrey Smith, several years ago. He was first diagnosed when he was six. Jeff started complaining that it was hard to see, so his mother brought him in for an eye exam. After his results he was sent to another eye doctor for visual field testing. This test shows the horizontal and vertical range of what you can see. It's also known as side vision. From these tests the doctors can predict potential blind spots which could mean an eye disease. Soon after Jeff was diagnosed with type two Retinitis Pigmentosa.

At age ten Jeff lost his night vision. When he was in dark or shadowed places he couldn't see anything. Just darkness. This meant when Jeff learnt to drive he could only drive in daylight and bright sunny days. Also if he were in a dark room he would need a light to guide him. This was hard for Jeff to adjust to. Especially at age sixteen when he was learning to drive. It was hard also because he could never be out after dark or he would never find his way home.

Slowly Jeff's hearing got worse too. Luckily this type of Retinitis Pigmentosa doesn't cause complete deafness. He only had moderate hearing loss. This meant Jeff had to be more aware and he had to have things and people more loudly to hear them.

After years Jeff's vision worsened. His vision getting worse and he got blind spots. Eventually in Jeff's thirties he became completely blind. This was the hardest part of the disease for Jeff. He could no longer do a lot of the things he loved or see the ones he loved. He had to rely on his other senses more than ever. Since Jeff was used to seeing nothing but darkness when nighttime came it wasn't completely scary. But it was definitely different.

Life will never be the same for Jeff. It never has been the same since his diagnosis. Even though his disease only gets worse and there is no cure, Jeff keeps a positive attitude towards life and lives it to the fullest.

What is it Like?

Here are some pictures about what some of the things are like in Retinitis Pigmentosa.

More Information

  • There are three types of Retinitis Pigmentosa.

1. Causes blindness and deafness. Also other ear problems and can cause often dizziness.

2. Causes only moderate hearing loss and blindness around there thirty's to forty's.

3. Causes progressive hearing loss, blindness that can happen at any time during there adulthood and bad balance.

  • Retinitis Pigmentosa is almost always found in children.
  • It is past down threw genes.
  • There is thirty-two different genes in this disease. So even if a parent has only one gene that is in this disease it could give the child Retinitis Pigmentosa.
  • About one percent of the population carries part of the Retinitis Pigmentosa gene.
  • It is not a common disease.
  • There is no cure.
  • The sensing cells in the eye slowly get worse and worse until they no longer work and you cannot see in the dark. (Lost night vision.)
  • Either your night vision is taken or you go color blind. This is usually the first symptoms of Retinitis Pigmentosa or the fact that your field of view is terrible. After that it just gets worse.
  • Sometimes Retinitis Pigmentosa gets worse faster than other times. Doctors cannot tell if the type of Retinitis Pigmentosa the person has will progress fast or slow.

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