Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Will there be a cure for Retinitis Pigmentosa in the next 10 yrs?"
Or is it all hype about the research work? I am 28, will I be able to see something positive in my lifetime?
Thank you for your question about retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and I encourage you to discuss it with your doctor. As you well know, RP describes a group of eye disorders which causes gradual loss of the cells in the back of our eye (the retina). Over time, losing these cells can cause vision loss which may include loss of peripheral vision, difficulty seeing at night, and loss of sharp, clear vision. There are many different types of RP. RP runs in families and is caused by one or more abnormal genes. Because it is such a complex condition, there is currently no cure for RP. However, there are several emerging technologies in experimental stages. One treatment is gene therapy which would involve replacing the damaged genes of RP with healthy ones. Retinal cell transplantation is another active area of study, which would involve implanting working retinal cells into the retinas of patients with RP. There has also been work towards developing an artificial or prosthetic retina which could transmit visual information through the use of electrodes and electrical signals. Unfortunately, it is impossible to say which, and if any, of these potential therapies will become viable and mainstream options for those suffering from RP. However, it is promising to see so much research interest in this particular area of science. In fact, in 2013 there were over 40 actively recruiting clinical trials listed for RP. If you are interested in trying a new RP treatment, you may be eligible to participate in a clinical study and lend valuable data to this field. Please talk with your doctor about clinical studies that may be taking place in your area and whether participating would be a good option for you. Even if you do not take part in a research study, you can always speak with your doctor about the current research literature in this field and he/she may continue to keep you abreast of any exciting new developments.
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