Ring a ring of roses, Pocket full of posies
Ashes ashes, We all fall down.
Did you know that this innocent seeming nursery rhyme was actually written about the plague epidemic?
Ring a ring of roses suggests a rose coloured ring-like rash, one of the first signs of the disease. Pocket full of posies denotes the belief that petals could ward off evil spirits. Ashes ashes points towards the practice of burning the bodies.
Ignorance about medicine meant that prehistoric men believed that the wrath of gods and evil spirits were the cause of diseases. Today, we may pride ourselves on the fact we have progressed a lot, but there still remain a few diseases which render medical science speechless. Retinitis Pigmentosa is one of them…
Retinitis Pigmentosa is a group of inherited disorders in which there is gradual degeneration of the retina – the light sensitive layer at the back of the eye.
Symptoms are often first noticed in childhood. Symptoms usually become apparent between the age group of 10 – 30 years. There is slow loss of vision.
We do not know much about what causes Retinitis Pigmentosa, except that it is hereditary. If it starts in one eye, your other eye will also usually develop it in a few years. Sometimes, there may be a lack of family history of the disease.
As of now, there is no permanent cure for Retinitis Pigmentosa. Vitamin A, Omega 3 rich diet may be beneficial. Sunglasses should be used to protect the retina from the damaging effects of UV light.
Various devices and implants are in the experimental phases:
1. Argus II Retinal Prosthesis System: This retinal implant converts video input from special eye glasses into electronic signals.
2. Retina Implant AG: A microchip implanted in the eye absorbs light signals, converts them to electrical signals and transmits these signals to the brain.
3. Electrical Stimulation Therapy: Controlled electrical stimulation of the retina may help delay the progress of the disease.
Low Vision Aids:
These devices help magnify and illuminate objects and help you maintain an active and independent lifestyle.
Cataracts occur more frequently among patients having Retinitis Pigmentosa.
The ultimate complication is loss of retinal functioning causing blindness.
If you or your spouse have a family history of retinitis Pigmentosa, the risk of having an affected child may be made by genetic counselling.