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Invited Commentary
May 2018

Vitamin A for Children With Retinitis Pigmentosa: An Unresolved Mystery

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Ophthalmology, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
  • 2Department of Epidemiology, Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
  • 3Department of Ophthalmology, Radboud University Medical Center, Nijmegen, the Netherlands
  • 4Erasmus Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
JAMA Ophthalmol. 2018;136(5):496-497. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2018.0658

The late Eliot L. Berson, MD, was well-respected by clinicians with expertise in ophthalmogenetics all over the world. His reports on nutritional treatments for retinitis pigmentosa (RP) were groundbreaking and regarded by most as creative and intelligent solutions to reduce the slope of progression of this devastating disease.1,2 Nevertheless, some have argued that these reports were merely a proof of concept that needed more in-depth validation before accepting it as profound evidence. The work initiated by Berson et al3 in this issue of JAMA Ophthalmology adds another building block to the evidence that vitamin A supplementation may be beneficial for RP. The authors report a slower decline of full-field cone electroretinogram amplitudes in children with RP when using vitamin A supplementation. An important question that still needs to be answered is: why does it work?