Understanding Retinitis Pigmentosa
Retinitis pigmentosa is a medical term used to define certain eye diseases that affect one's vision. It is a rare genetic condition that continually progresses as the patient ages, and this may eventually cause vision loss over time. Symptoms manifest differently from patient to patient, and sometimes, these do not appear until later on in life, which means the patient may be totally unaware that they have retinitis pigmentosa until they start experiencing issues with their peripheral vision or night vision in their late 20s or early 30s.  In some patients, symptoms begin to appear as early as ten years old. In children, the most common symptom to first appear is difficulty seeing in the dark or at night. Typically, a person's eyes adjust to the dark, allowing them to see hints of light, but for a patient born with the condition, all they may experience is total darkness.  How quickly does the disease progress?  There is no definitive answer here as the rate of the disease’s progression varies from patient to patient. In general, however, when the patient loses their peripheral vision or central vision or in some instances, both, this is a sign that the disease has progressed.   There are children that manifest symptoms as early as ten years old or even younger.   What are the common signs and symptoms to watch out for?   There are several symptoms that may indicate the patient may have been born with retinitis pigmentosa. Apart from issues with peripheral and/or night vision, other symptoms include issues with light, specifically, sensitivity to light, and difficulty seeing certain colors. There aren't any specific colors per se; it's just that the patient may be unable to recognize certain colors or differentiate one color from another, such as green and brown, for instance.  Does the disease cause total blindness?   Patients dealing with retinitis pigmentosa do not usually experience a total loss of vision, but rather, they are diagnosed as legally blind. This basically means they may have some vision but not enough to go on with their day-to-day tasks without some form of vision aid or support.  Additionally, patients dealing with this rare genetic eye disease could still live a full and happy life with the support of family and friends. It's important for patients to have their eyes properly checked if they are experiencing issues with their eyesight; and the earlier they have it checked, the better because it would mean they will get the help they need without delay. 

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