Blind World

Retinitis Pigmentosa.
Moderate light exposure causes retinal damage in dogs with RP gene.

May 27, 2005.
US National Academy of Science.

FFB-funded researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, along with investigators from Cornell University, have discovered that dogs with mutations in their rhodopsin gene experienced retinal damage when they were exposed to moderate amounts of light.

The rhodopsin mutations in dogs mimic the same mutations in humans with the dominant form of retinitis pigmentosa caused by rhodopsin mutations. Therefore, investigators recommend that people with the dominant form of RP caused by a mutation in their rhodopsin gene limit their light exposure. The effect of moderate light exposure was not investigated for any other form of RP. "This is a major FFB-funded breakthrough in preserving vision for a subset of people with RP," says Stephen Rose, Ph.D., FFB's chief researcher officer. "It is important for people with dominant RP caused by the rhodopsin mutation to talk with their ophthalmologist about minimizing their light exposure."

For people who have never been genetically tested, it is an excellent reason to do so. "Genetic testing, and determining the form of RP, enables patients to respond immediately to these critical findings," says Rose. "In this case, people with the rhodopsin mutation can take vision-preserving action right away." Investigators recommend that physicians who conduct retinal examinations of patients with rhodopsin mutations do so as quickly as possible, and with as little light as possible. They also recommend that retinal photography be avoided, and light exposure during intraocular surgery minimized.

Source - US National Academy of Science

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