Monday 5 February 2018

Let's Talk About Retinitis Pigmentosa

Hey everyone! 

Welcome to a brand new blog post! Today, I thought that I would talk to you all about Retinitis Pigmentosa.

A greenish blue eye with a black pupil with black long eyelashes and a big dark grey circle/bag underneath it on a pale white-ish face on a white background.

The definition that first comes up. when you type Retinitis Pigmentosa into Google says, a chronic hereditary eye disease characterized by black pigmentation and gradual degeneration of the retina.

This sounds like a pretty long winded definition, but basically. Retinitis Pigmentosa is an eye condition that affects the retina. The retina, which is known for responding to light, is different for those who have RP as they, well, can't see in light as well as those who don't have RP. RP is a genetic condition, which means that, it can pass down families in any way shape or form. It can skip generations if it wants. The rate of sight loss via RP can varies from person to person.

Myself and Luke, who talks about it in a lot more detail than I will throughout this post, have RP at different rates, just like mentioned above. His is at a worse rate than mine as he is severely partially sighted whereas I can still see within daytime, it's just that I have trouble in the dark. (I'll touch up more when I talk about the symptoms of RP.) Even though, myself and Luke share the same condition, as mine isn't as bad as Lukes, I guide him to the best of my ability.

The main symptoms of Retinitis Pigmentosa are:
  • Loss ofnght vision. Night blindness is when you can't see anything in the dark. Your vision may be normal during the day. As you start losing night vision, it takes longer to adjust to darkness. You may stumble over objects. You might also find it hard to see in movie theaters or other dim rooms. This is the main thing that I suffer with. I can walk anywhere within the day as long as it's night, but as soon as the night sky kicks in, it's difficulat for me to see unless I know where I'm going or if there's a high amount of light. eg from a shop window etc. I avoid going to the cinema or theatre on my own for this very reason as it literally becomes a comedy sketch from myself whilst trying to get to my seat. It also means that as I've done courses at College, and still do a course at Uni, which includes a tad bit of trying to analyse a film in the dark, that it means that I either end up jusst putting my pen on a piece of paper and writing down notes and hoping that they don't overlap or end up using a laptop for the light. Weird, I know, but it works. 
  • Gradual loss of pripheral (side) vision. This is known as “tunnel vision.” You may find you bump into things as you move around. This is because you are not able to see objects below and around you. This is more of a below thing for me. I'm not sure if its a height thing as well, but I normally end up kicking one or two wet floor signs over normally if I'm in a rush, or focusing on getting somewhere. I don't do it on purpose, but when the Wet Floor sign is in the middle of the place I'm walking through then theres a good 85% chance of me 
  • Loss of central vision. Some people also have problems with central vision. This can make it hard to do detailed tasks such as reading or threading a needle.
  • Problems with color vision. Some people may also have trouble seeing different colors.
I don't suffer from the last two. but as I said before, everyone suffers slightly different. The chance of sight loss is high with this condition, and I am pretty scared as I'm not sure if it will happen to me. If it does, then things like the cane and guide dogs can help, which is why charities such as RNIB and Guide Dogs UK deserve as much recognition and help as possible.

Check out the charities (RNIB and Guide Dogs UK) here.
Check out Luke who talks about RP in more detail.

Have you ever heard of Retinitis Pigmentosa before? Have you got any questions about it? Let me know down below. 

I hope that you have enjoyed this educational blog post and I hope that you come back next time for another blog post.

Thanks for reading! 
Jamie x 

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