Retinitis pigmentosa (or RP for short), is when your retina becomes damaged over time, causing vision problems. RP is a group of rare diseases that negatively affect your retina. Your retina is the layer of cells at the back of your eye that allows light to be transferred into signals for your brain. In this article we’ll explore a variety of treatments for retinitis pigmentosa, and how you can manage the condition at home. To find out more about the symptoms and causes of RP click here.
Types of Treatment for Retinitis Pigmentosa
Researchers are in the process of discovering new treatments for RP. So far, although they haven’t found a cure, they have found many ways you can treat and manage RP in your daily life. Let’s break these treatments down into four types:
- Managing your Symptoms
- Contact a Professional
- Slowing Down the Progression of RP
- General Eye Health
Managing your Symptoms
There are many ways to improve your quality of life if you have RP. Having adjustable lighting in your home or workspace can make a huge difference, as can wearing glasses with anti-glare coatings. These can combat the intensity of bright lights. To make reading easier, try increasing the text size and thickness on your electronic devices, and using a magnifying glass when reading from paper. Arranging your furniture so that there are wide, open spaces to walk through can also make life easier.
Contact a Professional
If you have RP, it’s a good idea to make an appointment with a qualified eye health professional, such as an optometrist or ophthalmologist. They can ensure that you get the right prescription for glasses if you need them.
Slowing Down the Progression of RP
Although a cure for RP hasn’t been found so far, there are ways that you can slow down the progression of your condition. One way is to consume turmeric in your diet. Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, which has been shown to help slow down vision loss. Here are some delicious and healthy plant based recipes containing cumin that you could try.
General Eye Health
To make sure your vision is the best it can be, it’s important to take good care of your overall eye health. Talk to your eye specialist about any daily habits that you can do to help keep your eyes healthy overall. Your specialist may recommend taking supplements like vitamin A or others.
Upcoming Treatments for Retinitis Pigmentosa
Aside from the current methods for managing RP, researchers are also developing new ways for you to treat the condition. These new treatments depend on which gene mutations are causing your condition. To find out which gene mutations you have, make an appointment with a genetic counsellor. Depending on which genes are affected, potential RP treatments could involve:
- A new medication called Luxturna (voretigene neparvovec-rzyl), that may help replace the gene which lets your retina sense light
- An injection (called QR-421a) to replace gene mutations (for people with Usher syndrome)
- Surgery to remove the fluid inside your eye and replace it with healthy genes.
There is also another new treatment called optogenetic therapy, which aims to replace the function of your retina, helping to improve your vision. This treatment involves wearing a special pair of goggles and taking injections.
Acupuncture for Retinitis Pigmentosa
If you have RP and are looking for a natural and safe treatment option, why not give acupuncture a try? 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….”. Acupuncture is a great way to treat RP, because it is a holistic approach that nourishes your whole body, without the risk of unwanted side effects that can come with medications, injections, and surgery. At Centre of Balance, our team of qualified Chinese Medicine practitioners can help you find the most effective treatment plan for you. To find out more about how acupuncture can treat eye problems, see our website here.
Overall, the western medicine treatments for RP involve managing your condition to reduce the impact of RP on your life, and to slow down the progression of RP. There are also a variety of upcoming treatments for RP, that address the different gene mutations that cause RP. However, acupuncture is also an effective treatment for RP, and other eye problems. Acupuncture is a safe and holistic process that doesn’t pose the same risk of harmful side effects that come with mainstream treatments such as medications.