Retinitis pigmentosa causes slow loss of vision. Symptoms begin with decreased night vision and later progress to loss of peripheral (side) vision — creating a “tunnel vision” effect. Some people may also have difficulty identifying colors. The rate of vision change varies in different people depending on the genetic makeup of their disorder.
As night vision decreases, the ability to adjust to darkness becomes more difficult. You may stumble over objects in the dark, find driving at dusk and night difficult and see poorly in dimly lit rooms, such as a movie theater. While your vision during the day may be completely normal, your inability to see in dark conditions is considered “night blindness.”
In some cases, central vision may be affected first, making detail work difficult, such as reading or threading a needle. This may be referred to as macular dystrophy, because the central area of the retina, called the macula, is affected.
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