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June 1993

How Shall Research in the Treatment of Retinitis Pigmentosa Proceed?

Author Affiliations

Durham, NC

Arch Ophthalmol. 1993;111(6):754-756. doi:10.1001/archopht.1993.01090060042020

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Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a group of hereditary eye diseases, characterized by retinal degeneration, that have no known cure.1 The prevalence of RP is approximately one in 3000 persons worldwide. The initial symptom of RP is night blindness that usually begins during adolescence. Patients next experience constricted visual fields and eventually a profound loss of peripheral vision. In the course of the eye's deteriorating condition, abnormal pigmentation characteristically accumulates, starting usually in the midperipheral retina. Typically by middle age, the patients are legally blind. The pattern of RP recurrence in an individual's family indicates whether the genetic type is X-linked, recessive, or dominant.1

Ideally, research in RP treatment should begin when all the variations on the pathogenic chain of events resulting in the phenotype have been identified. Although RP research has not arrived at this point, a considerable body of knowledge about some of the critical cellular and

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