Learn More About Eye and Inherited Retinal Diseases

There are many things that can go wrong with a person’s eyes. These diseases and conditions go far beyond simply needing some reading glasses. Inherited retinal diseases (IRD) are a series of different diseases that fall into the same group.

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Many people who suffer from these conditions can experience the potential for vision loss or complete blindness. 

Since these are inherited diseases, there’s no preventative measures possible. Each will be passed down from parents to their children through abnormal genes. Research continues to try to find cures for inherited retinal diseases. Until such a time as there’s a cure, it’s important to learn more about eye diseases. Learning about IRD symptoms and IRD treatment can help prepare people in the event that they or a family member finds themselves 

1 - Retinitis Pigmentosa

This is actually a series of progressive eye diseases. Retinitis pigmentosa causes the rode and cone photoreceptors in the retina to start to deteriorate. Symptoms can vary, but typically the first symptom that someone will get is night blindness. These symptoms can be common and causes people to struggle to see well or find their way at night or in dark places like basements or movie theaters. This symptom tends to first appear in childhood or during the teen years. Eventually, the eyes continue to deteriorate with this disease and people lose their peripheral vision. Finally, their central vision will deteriorate as well and the person will lose their vision completely. Treatment tends to aim to minimize deterioration since there is no cute. 

2 - Cone-Rod Dystrophy

This is another inherited retinal disease that starts during childhood. The main difference in this disease from other inherited retinal diseases is the location of the eye it begins in. This disease starts in the cone photoreceptors before it spreads out to the remaining aspects of the eye. What this does is often flip how symptoms appear. Most people with cone-rod dystrophy will find that they lose their central vision and have trouble identifying colors to begin with. Eventually, their peripheral vision will follow. 

3 - Juvenile Macular Degeneration

This childhood disease involves the degeneration of the macula. There are different types of juvenile macular degeneration. Stargardt disease is one of the most common types of juvenile macular degeneration. Most people know about age-related macular degeneration. While both result in visual impairment, the juvenile version is the only one which is passed down by genees. Age related is caused in people over the age of 55 through long term slow deterioration of the eyes. 

4 - Choroideremia

This is another genetic disease that begins in childhood. Choroideremia is so named because the degeneration in the eyes starts in the choroid and retinal cells. Like some other inherited retinal diseases, night blindness comes on and shows itself as the first symptom. Peripheral vision is affected later and then central vision is the final part of vision to go. Unlike several other conditions, choroideremia tends to specifically target men. There are cases when females may carry the disease and suffer from symptoms, but the majority remains male. 

5 - Leber Congenital Amaurosis

This disease tends to show up in infancy or very early childhood. While all inherited retinal diseases are fairly rare, this one is slightly more common due to the fact that it can be caused by multiple defective genes. Infacts suffer from severe visual problems and typically childhood blindness will be the result. Signs of leber congenital amaurosis include involuntary back and forth eye movements and the infant having a tendency to touch, rub and poke their own eyes, especially in darker areas.

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