Retinitis pigmentosa (RP)


| By Dr. Ronald Hoffman

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Retinitis Pigmentosis is a mysterious peripheral retina degeneration with a heredity pattern. This disease can begin as early as the teens or as late as the fifties. Characteristic pigmentation changes in the peripheral retina and decreased vision at night are the early findings. Later central vision can become involved and very few people may lose most of their vision.

There have been several wonderful studies that have recently demonstrated that there are nutritional remedies for this disorder. First and foremost the omega-3 fatty acid DHA, found in algae and cold-water fatty fish will help rebuild and maintain retinal cell membranes. 500 mg DHA taken with a meal and 400 IU of vitamin E or multivitamin twice a day is recommended. For more information about DHA see my new book, The DHA Story.

Lutein 10 mg daily has been demonstrated to slow the progress of RP. Lutein is a member of the carotenoid family which includes vitamin A and is found in high levels in the macula, the center of the retina. Since it is fat-soluble it needs to be taken with a meal.

A good multivitamin preferably in capsule form twice daily is recommended. Along with an additional 10,000 IU vitamin A and 400 IU of vitamin E (taken as a separate meal from the vitamin A ).

Some nutritionists recommend that digestive enzyme to be taken at the end of each meal, will help to fully digest a meal and make the nutrients more available for the liver. Herbal remedies that have improved digestion are recommended by my herbalist colleague, Alan Tillotson, Phd. He can be reached at (302)-994-0565, or e-mail at

Wearing sunglasses outdoors, even on cloudy days, is imperative. This is because sunlight is the major contributor to the retinal degeneration.

Remain hopeful about your condition and keep looking for new breaking stories in the next 12 to 16 months. Be certain to have routine eye examinations.

Robert Abel, Jr, M.D.
Delaware Ophthalmology Consultants
Phone 302 477 2602
Fax 302 477 2650


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