Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) refers to a group of inherited diseases causing retinal degeneration. The cell-rich retina lines the back inside wall of the eye. It is responsible for capturing images from the visual field. People with RP experience a gradual decline in their vision because photoreceptor cells (rods and cones) become inactive.
Symptoms depend on whether rods or cones are initially involved. In most forms of RR rods are affected first. Because rods are concentrated in the outer portions of the retina and are triggered by dim light, their degeneration affects peripheral and night vision. When the more centrally located cones – responsible for color and sharp central vision – become involved, the loss is in color perception and central vision.
Night blindness is one of the earliest and most frequent symptoms of RP. People with mainly cone degeneration, however, first experience decreased central vision and ability to discriminate color. Marked loss of vision occurs over many years but may develop slowly. The diagnosis is made by a thorough eye examination and a special test called an electroretinogram “ERG”.
Since we consider most conditions (including eye conditions) to be a reflection of the health of the individual, lifestyle choices and diet can play a major factor in getting and maintaining good vision. Below are some recommendations:
Nutritional therapy using vitamin A and omega 3 fatty acids has resulted in an effective treatment for many patients.
Rich Sources of Vitamin A
Rich Sources of Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Flaxseed oil and ground flaxseeds are particularly good choices to meet the needs for omega-3 fatty acids. One teaspoonful of flaxseed oil or a tablespoonful of ground flaxseed will supply the daily requirement of alpha-linolenic acid. To protect it from oxygen damage, flaxseed oil or ground flax seed must be stored in the refrigerator or the freezer. Use a little for dressing salads or baked potatoes. (Do not cook with this oil as heat damages its omega-3. For the body to absorb contents of flaxseeds, they must be ground.)
Linseed, Canola, Walnut, Wheat germ, Soybean are other good sources of Omega 3 fatty acids.
Raw Juice Therapy
Fresh raw juice taken on empty stomach is the best way to stimulate the nerves. They also supply vitamins and minerals in fresh form that helps to strengthen the nerves. Juices of parsley, beet cabbage, carrot, celery, spinach, ginger, garlic, leeks, apples, grapes, raspberries, lemon and wheat grasses are beneficial (preferably organic) – Juice fasting can be undertaken – but, only under expert supervision.
If you can get yourself admitted to any of the Naturopathy hospitals, you can undergo a beneficial course of fasting on water or coconut water, honey water or lemon honey water for a period of 3-7 days approximately. Enema during fasting and selected treatments from what is prescribed below can also be beneficial. Juice Diet: Fasting can be followed by juice diet for 2-3 days. Juices of mango, papaya, mosambi, cucumber, cabbage, carrot, etc. can be had on these days.
Juice diet can be followed by raw diet for 1-5 weeks that includes carrots, cucumber, tomato, broccoli leaves, sweet potato, spinach, leafy vegetables, pumpkin, parsley, beet, cabbage, celery, fruits like papaya, mango, banana, orange, etc.
After raw diet therapy, you can shift non-spicy, non-fried, bland cooked food like khichadi (moong dal, mixed vegetable, broken wheat and carrot), chapatti with steamed or boiled vegetables etc. Stop consumption of tea, coffee, alcohol, sodas and other nerve stimulants since they interfere in the synthesis of those proteins that are responsible for nervous transmission related to vision and interfere with liver functions, thereby reducing protective glutathione levels. Eliminate deep fat fried foods, which acts as a potential retinal toxin.
Hydrotherapy & Mudtherapy
Hydriatic techniques like eye compress, cotton compress, eyewash, spinal spray, cephalic pack, etc. may be useful. Mud treatments like mudpack over eyes is beneficial. Sunbath: Even though sunbath has got beneficial effect in management of RP direct exposure of sun rays to eyes can be harmful, so it is prescribed under expert guidance only.