Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a group of disorders that affect the retina’s ability to respond to light. This inherited disease causes a slow loss of vision, beginning with decreased night vision and loss of peripheral (side) vision. Eventually, blindness results.
What Is Retinitis Pigmentosa?
The retina is the layer of light-sensing cells lining the back of your eye that converts light rays into nerve impulses. The impulses are sent through the optic nerve to your brain, where they are recognized as images.
With RP, cells in the retina called rods and cones die. With most forms of RP, rods — which are mainly in the outer regions of the retina and are responsible for our peripheral and night vision — degenerate first. When the retina’s more centrally-located cones are affected, the result is loss of color perception and central (reading) vision.
Retinitis Pigmentosa Causes
Retinitis pigmentosa is often hereditary (runs in families). If you or your partner has retinitis pigmentosa, there may be up to a 50 percent chance that you will pass it along to your children. Ask your ophthalmologist about genetic counseling if you are planning to have children.
The rate of progression and degree of visual loss varies from person to person. Most people with RP are legally blind by age 40, with a central visual field of less than 20 degrees in diameter. In some families with a certain genetic RP trait, males are more often and more severely affected; females carry the genetic trait and experience vision loss less frequently .
Retinitis Pigmentosa Symptoms
Retinitis pigmentosa causes slow loss of vision. Symptoms begin with decreased night vision and later progress to loss of peripheral (side) vision — creating a “tunnel vision” effect. Some people may also have difficulty identifying colors. The rate of vision change varies in different people depending on the genetic makeup of their disorder.
As night vision decreases, the ability to adjust to darkness becomes more difficult. You may stumble over objects in the dark, find driving at dusk and night difficult and see poorly in dimly lit rooms, such as a movie theater. While your vision during the day may be completely normal, your inability to see in dark conditions is considered “night blindness.”
In some cases, central vision may be affected first, making detail work difficult, such as reading or threading a needle. This may be referred to as macular dystrophy, because the central area of the retina, called the macula, is affected.
Ayurvedic management of Retinitis Pigmentosa:
Classical texts of ayurveda have considered congenital blindness under Adibala pravritta and Janmabala pravritta vyadhis. Also one of the feature of RP is night blindness. This is seen in Doshandya, Kapha Vidagda Drishti , Usna Vidagda Drishti , Nakulandya And Hriswajaadya. But most features are seen in Vataja Timira. So here mainly vatahara and rasayana measures should be carried out. To improve the acuteness of of alochaka Pitta , Grita pana, Sneha virechana and Sneha basti should be carried out. Ayurvedic treatment for Retinitis Pigmentosa include ayurvedic treatments, the right combination of internal medicines and Kriyakalpa, which is decided upon a personal consultation, assessment and diagnosis of the affected. Tarpana, Putapaka has very important role in treatment of RP.
Common forms of Â Ayurvedic treatment for Retinitis Pigmentosa include Snehapana ( intake of high quantity of medicated ghee in increasing order of quantity gradually) with Jeevanthyadi grutha , Mahathriphala ghrutha, Patoladi grutha, Nasya with Ksheerabala thaila , Madhookadi thaila, Ksheerabala 101 Avarthi along with Moordhithaila with Ksheerabala thailam , Anjana with Choornithanjanam, Usheeranjanam and Snehana putapaka. Thalam ( retention of medicated paste or oil right on the vertex ), Shirodhara (where herbal oil, medicated milk, medicated butter milk etc, are poured on the forehead in a specified manner), Thalapothichil (the application of herbal paste on the scalp of a patient) a are other treatment procedures which are usually doing for RP patient according their condition of illness.
Swarna Bhasma mixed with Jeevanthyadi gritha given 1tsp daily in empty stomach shown a very good result in patients of RP. With all these procedures it is possible to arrest the degeneration process. The active ingredients of the medicines provide nourishment to retina thus restoring the vision. It is seen in majority of cases that with this course of Ayurvedic eye treatment for Retinitis Pigmentosa (R.P.), present vision status is maintained and also improved in some of the cases.
For people who have RP, it is important to remember that there are many low-vision devices, tips and rehabilitation services designed specifically to help people with low vision maintain an active and independent lifestyle.