Eye Matters
October 21, 2005
Pigmentary Retinosis – night blindness

This medical affliction is considered a hereditary, progressive, degenerative disease of the retina. Its main characteristics are night blindness, reduction of the visual field and gradual loss of vision sharpness in both eyes although it can be unilateral (one eye only). {{more}}

The disease makes its first appearance during childhood or adolescence with a slow and inadequate adaptation to darkness and dark spaces; the affected person is generally unaware of the reduction of their visual field until it has progressed significantly or there is blindness.

What is the reason for consulting us? The patient will describe photophobia (sensitivity to light) and dazzling, night blindness and loss of the peripheral visual field (this ultimate is a sign that the disease is in its advanced stage).

How is the diagnosis made or confirmed? Fifty percent of these patients will have a family history of retinosis and we frequently find that entire families are affected by this disease. The ophthalmologic (eye) exam usually reveals that in the back of the eye there are brown spots in the form of clusters around the retina’s blood vessels, decrease in the size of the blood vessels (arterioles) and paleness of the optic disc. The visual field will also be narrowed.

What is the treatment for this terrible disease? The fundamental objective is to try and prevent the disease, once diagnosed, from progressing towards blindness and at the time attempt to improve the existing vision as there is no specific treatment available for this fearsome affliction. However, there are multiple treatments that aim at upgrading the retina’s oxygenation and microcirculation with vitamin therapy (specifically vitamin A and B complex), ozone and surgery.

Many efforts are being made to investigate and cure those patients suffering from pigmentary retinosis but in the meantime it is important to adhere to the following recommendations:

• Protection from sunlight by using sun-glasses with protection and filters from ultraviolet light

• A balanced diet with an adequate supply of vitamins (especially vitamin A)

• Daily exercise