Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a progressive inherited disease of the eye, in which the light-sensitive photoreceptor cells located in the retina degenerate. This results first in the loss of night and peripheral vision, eventually progressing to the loss of central vision and total blindness. It is the leading cause of inherited blindness in the developed world.
The disease, which affects approximately 1.5 million people in the world, has no cure, but thanks to research done at the University of California-Santa Barbara, a new stem cell therapy may soon be available that protects photoreceptor cells from the damaging effects of the gene mutation. So far, only a small number of legally blind patients with RP have begun a trial. The trial is the first attempt to use stem cells to prevent the loss of vision from RP. An experimental injection of retinal stem cells is placed in the eye with the hope that the growth factors from these cells will protect the retinal cells and prevent them from dying, thus preserving the patient’s remaining vision.
If you, a family member or someone you know would like to learn more about Retinitis Pigmentosa or many new stem therapies being developed for diseases of the retina, please call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group, Google+ or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.