- Epi-Retinal Membrane Peel Surgery
- Retinal Detachment Surgery
- Macular Hole Surgery
- Vitrectomy For Floaters
Retinal degeneration is a range of eye disorders that are very difficult to describe as each case is so different. If you suspect that you have retinal degenerations or any other eye problem, it is best to consult with an ophthalmologist who specialises in the care of the eye. The nature and progress of the condition and the possible need for retinal surgery can be only determined by knowing the full details of the patient’s examination and family history.
Is Retinal Degeneration Inherited?
In most cases, the answer is yes. The most common form of inheritance is called recessive. In this type both parents carry the genes which causes RP. They themselves are unaffected but there is a 25% chance that their children will have RP. Another form of RP inheritance is X-linked. In X-linked RP, females carry the gene causing RP. When a female carrier marries an unaffected male, then there is a 50% chance that their sons will be affected, and a 50% chance that their daughters will be carriers. X-linked RP is one form for which carriers can often be detected. In X-linked RP when an affected male marries a non-carrier female, their sons will not be affected, but all their daughters will be carriers. There is also a dominant form of RP which can strike in every generation of a family. Since RP runs in families, all members in an affected family are urged to have a thorough eye examination. When planning a family, expert genetic counselling should be sought.
Does Retinal Degeneration lead to blindness?
To the layman, blindness is complete loss of vision. Some people with retinal degeneration may become blind; however, most retain limited residual vision though they may be termed “blind” for legal purposes.
How quickly does sight diminish?
The rate of sight loss for each person is different and can be assessed by an eye specialist. If the disorder runs in a family, the pattern may be similar within that family. There is usually a gradual degeneration so that in most cases there is time to adjust to the visual handicap.
Does Night Blindness mean RP?
Night blindness alone does not necessarily represent a progressive eye disorder. However, anyone suffering from this should be tested for retinal degeneration as a precaution.
Is there any treatment to arrest the progress of retinal degeneration?
The causes of retinal degeneration are numerous, so it is unlikely that a single treatment will emerge to slow down the progress of all forms of retinal breakdown. For people with Usher Syndrome and RP a daily dose of 15000 international units of Vitamin A Palmitate (only) has been shown to slow the degeneration of the cone ERG. A blood test must be taken to ascertain liver function and Vitamin A levels in the blood BEFORE taking this treatment. Pregnant woman must not take high doses of Vitamin A under any circumstances and this treatment must be undertaken in consultation with your doctor or eye specialist. With children under the age of 18 doctors should be consulted on the advisability and dosage.
Can retinal degeneration be easily diagnosed?
This depends on the type and extent of the degeneration. A characteristic change in the appearance of the retina may be visible to the ophthalmologist. A proper eye examination is needed to determine the precise state of the retina. A visit to a Retinal Clinic is advised. Here the field of vision will be ascertained, the central vision measured (visual acuity) and an electro-retinogram (ERG) test performed. This test measures the electrical activity of the retina and how it changes with light. Specific graphs in this test help clinicians to accurately diagnose the type of degeneration. This, coupled with a careful analysis of the family history, will help classify the type of RP and determine whether retina surgery is required.
Low vision aids
Low vision devices are designed to enable people suffering from retinal degeneration make the most of the eyesight they have. Each person is different with diverse needs. Lenses, magnifiers, closed circuit television readers or other sophisticated electronic gadgets may help. Specific low vision assessment is necessary to establish which kind of aid or retinal surgery will be best suited for the individual’s needs.