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April 1969

Retinitis Pigmentosa Without Pigment

Arch Ophthalmol. 1969;81(4):453. doi:10.1001/archopht.1969.00990010455001

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NO treatment is known for the different types of hereditary retinitis pigmentosa although the degenerations have been described with the ophthalmoscope for over 100 years. When bone spicule pigmentation and arteriolar narrowing are visible, most patients have extinguished or very small electroretinograms (ERGs), and histopathologic studies have demonstrated widespread destruction of the neuroepithelium. This pigmentary migration and arteriolar narrowing undoubtedly represent an irreversible end stage for many gene defects.

Therapeutic trials are usually limited to these advanced cases of retinitis pigmentosa, and then generalizations are made about all stages of these diseases. In one such trial, Chatzinoff et al state without qualification in the Archives (80:417 [Oct] 1968) that "11-cis vitamin A is not of value in the treatment of retinitis pigmentosa." They do not specify what genetic types of retinitis pigmentosa are untreatable, nor do they present ERGs which would appear necessary to evaluate objectively changes in retinal

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