Retinitis pigmentosa, or RP for short, is a category of conditions that affect your retina. Your retina is a thin layer of tissue at the back of your eye, that converts light from the outside world into signals that get sent to your brain, allowing you to see. When the cells that make up your retina start to degrade, it can affect your vision. In this article, we’ll discover what causes RP, what symptoms you may experience, and how you can treat RP with acupuncture.
Symptoms of Retinitis Pigmentosa
If you have RP, it’s likely that you’ll experience some form of partial vision loss over time. Some people may even go blind. Most of the time, the symptoms of RP appear when you’re young, and progress gradually. However, older people may experience a more sudden appearance and progression of symptoms.
Some common symptoms of RP include:
- Narrowing Field of Vision and Peripheral Vision Loss – you may lose the ability to see from the top, bottom, and sides of your field of vision, or you may only be able to see things that are directly in front of you.
- Night Blindness – you may have trouble seeing in the dark or in dimly lit areas.
- Sensitivity to Bright Lights – seeing in brightly lit areas may become difficult or uncomfortable.
- Adjustment Problems – you may find it hard to adjust to seeing in dimly lit areas after being in a well-lit area.
- You may also have trouble seeing the difference between shades of colours.
What Causes Retinitis Pigmentosa?
Retinitis pigmentosa is a condition that gets passed down through families. This means that someone with RP was probably born with the condition. Although you may not notice any obvious symptoms of RP immediately, the symptoms usually become more noticeable as you get older.
RP occurs when the cells in your retina get damaged. Certain genetic mutations are responsible for this damage; however, researchers aren’t yet sure what causes the mutations themselves. Factors that may contribute to the gene mutation include:
- Infections: Some infections such as upper respiratory system infections may lead to the gene mutation that causes RP.
- Other Genetic Conditions: RP may occur more commonly in people who also have other genetic conditions, such as Usher syndrome.
Aside from genetic factors, other causes such as eye injuries, and medications like Viagra can also contribute to retina damage that may lead to RP symptoms.
Acupuncture for Retinitis Pigmentosa
Looking for an effective and safe treatment for RP? Why not visit one of our Chinese Medicine clinics in Hamilton or Auckland, and see what we can offer you? At Centre of Balance, our highly trained, professional Chinese Medicine practitioners can treat many of your symptoms holistically, through natural and effective methods like acupuncture. Acupuncture is a great way to treat conditions like RP, because it gets to the root of the problem. This means that your symptoms get healed from the inside out.
Scientists are also finding acupuncture to be an effective treatment option for RP. One scientific study found that, “Acupuncture entails minimal risk, if administered by a well-trained acupuncturist and may have significant, measurable benefits on residual visual function in patients with retinitis pigmentosa, in particular scotopic sensitivity, which had not previously been studied.”
RP, technically called retinitis pigmentosa, occurs when the cells in your retina get degraded. This leads to vision problems such as difficulty seeing in dimly lit or brightly lit areas, difficulty adjusting to different levels of light, and the narrowing of your field of vision. RP is caused by gene mutations that affect the cells in your retina, however, factors like infections, injuries, and having other genetic conditions can also affect your chances of developing RP. At Centre of Balance, we can effectively treat RP through natural and holistic Chinese Medicine methods, especially acupuncture.
Bittner, A. K., Gould, J. M., Rosenfarb, A., Rozanski, C., & Dagnelie, G. (2014). A pilot study of an acupuncture protocol to improve visual function in retinitis pigmentosa patients. Clinical & Experimental Optometry, 97(3), 240–247. https://doi.org/10.1111/cxo.12117
Centre of Balance – Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine. (n.d.). About Us. https://balancetcm.co.nz/about-us/
Centre of Balance – Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine. (n.d.). Archive for category: Acupuncture for eye problems. https://balancetcm.co.nz/category/acupuncture-for-eye-problems/
Jewell, T. (2022, September 13). The Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment of Retinitis Pigmentosa. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/eye-health/retinitis-pigmentosa