|Eye Exam: $5-$114+||UV Protectant Sunglasses: $15-$150||Low-Vision Specialist: $100-$200|
Retinitis Pigmentosa refers to a group of inherited eye diseases in which cells of the retina degenerate, resulting in a loss or reduction of vision. The condition strikes about 1 in 4,000 people in the United States. Though some treatments such as retinal implants are being studied for possible use, there is currently no cure or effective remedy for the condition. However, there are measures available to slow its progression.
Related articles: Eye Exam, Genetic Testing, Health Insurance
- Patients who experience symptoms typically start out with a visit to an eye doctor. The national average charge for a comprehensive eye exam is $114 for those without insurance. For patients with vision insurance coverage, the typical copay is $5-$35.
- Patients who are diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa may find it helpful to see a low-vision specialist who can aid in adapting to vision loss. A typical low-vision evaluation costs between $100 and $200, but fees vary depending on region. Some health insurers do offer limited coverage for low vision services, but are unlikely to cover low-vision devices, such as magnifiers, that a specialist might prescribe.
- Wearing dark sunglasses to protect the retina from ultraviolet light may help to preserve vision. UV protectant sunglasses can cost $15-$150, depending on brand, type and durability. This UV protectant pair designed especially for people with low vision, costs about $33-$50, based on the type of lens purchased.
- Some studies have suggested that high doses of antioxidants such as vitamin A palmitate, $13 for 240 tablets at The Vitamin Shoppe , may help slow the progression of the disease. However, high doses of vitamin A may also damage the liver and should only be taken under the supervision of a health care provider.
What should be included:|
- In addition to taking a complete medical history, an eye doctor may perform tests to see how much of the retina is affected, including a refraction test or using a lighted instrument called an ophthalmoscope to examine the eye.
- Symptoms of retinitis pigmentosa, such as loss of night vision or peripheral vision, often first appear in childhood, but severe problems typically do not develop until adulthood.
- It may be necessary to make annual or more frequent visits to an eye care specialist.
- Because the condition can be inherited, genetic counseling and testing may help determine whether a patient's children are at risk for it. Some health insurers, like Aetna , will cover genetic testing for retinitis pigmentosa if certain criteria are met.
- Low-vision aids such as a basic magnifier, which can cost $5-$50 or more, depending on the brand, size and level of sophistication, may help patients navigate everyday life.
Shopping for retinitis pigmentosa treatment:
- Nearby chapters of the Lions Club International may provide free or low cost vision aids or other services.
- The American Academy of Ophthalmology provides a searchable database of ophthalmologists .
- VisionAware, an online resource center, offers advice on shopping for low vision aids, accessibility tips, and other info. What's more, Lowvision.org has list of doctors who provide low vision services on its site.
- AllAboutVision.com offers tips on buying UV-protectant sunglasses .
| Material on this page is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always consult your physician or pharmacist regarding medications or medical procedures.
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