The Science Journal of the Lander College of Arts and Sciences


Retinitis Pigmentosa, most commonly characterized by night blindness and loss of peripheral vision, is a rare genetically inherited group of diseases affecting the retina of the eye. It is estimated that 1 in 4000 people in the USA are affected by some form of the disease. Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), is caused by a mutation or change in one or more of 55 genes. There are many causes to this disease as RP presents with many different symptoms and biological effects on the eye. These are then grouped together because they share a common result, deterioration of vision. Presently, there is no cure for the disease. Most of the present therapies are aimed at preserving visual function and preventing or slowing further cell death. Restoring vision is particularly difficult because human photoreceptors are not produced and do not divide after birth and therefore their loss is irreversible. Experimentation in gene and stem cell transplantation to retard the advance of the disease, as well as drug therapies and surgeries to diminish the effects of the disease are ongoing and have found some limited success.