This report represents a summary of opinions expressed at a meeting of specialists interested in retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and allied diseases, at which an attempt was made to define some minimum guidelines for ocular evaluation of these disorders. The term RP would be reserved for a group of hereditary disorders that diffusely involve photoreceptor and pigment epithelial function, and should not be used when a secondary cause is suspected. RP may be classified by genetic type (single cases without known affected relatives should be termed isolated or simplex), by the topography of retinal involvement, and by the severity of disease (to identify subtypes with mild or localized disease). Patients should have at least one comprehensive examination that conforms to basic standards, preferable early in the course of the disease. The visual field examination should use both a small and a large test light. Electroretinographic testing should (1) use a full-field stimulus, and (2) routinely document three independent responses (cone, rod, and mixed conerod). Patients should be identifiable for future study or therapeutic trials. They should be counseled about the disease and followed regularly. No specific therapy exists at present for most of these diseases, but optical and night vision aids are available. Sunglasses for outdoor use are recommended until more is known about whether long-term exposure to bright sunlight alters the course of these diseases.
- retinitis pigmentosa
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