Common symptoms include night blindness, vision loss, visual flashes of light and rarely, hearing loss.
Contrary to what the name suggests, this condition is more due to degeneration than inflammation.
The Ayurvedic treatment of retinitis pigmentosa is aimed at treating the symptoms and halting or reversing the degeneration process.
Medicines like Tapyadi-Loh, Saptamrut-Loh, Punarnavadi-Guggulu, Panch-Tikta-Ghrut-Guggulu, Punarnavadi-Mandur, Trayodashang-Guggulu, Lohasav, Yashtimadhuk-Ghrut, Triphala-Ghrut and Shatavari-Ghrut are used to treat the loss of vision.
Herbal medicines which can be used in this condition include Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Haritaki (Terminalia chebula), Behada (Terminalia bellerica), Pippali (Piper longum), Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum), Shatavari (Asperagus racemosus), Yashtimadhuk (Glycerrhiza glabra), Punarnava (Boerhaavia diffusa), Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), Musta (Cyperus rotundus) and Gokshur (Tribulus terrestris).
Medicines like Punarnavadi-Mandur, Tapyadi-Loh, Ekang-Veer-Ras, Maha-Vat-Vidhwans-Ras, Bruhat-Vat-Chintamani, Abhrak-Bhasma, Trivang-Bhasma, Maha-Manjishthadi-Qadha, Saarivasav, Chandanasav, Usheerasav, Manjishtha (Rubia cordifolia), Saariva (Hemidesmus indicus), Haridra (Curcuma longa), Patol (Tricosanthe dioica), Patha (Cissampelos pareira) and Kuchla (Strychnos nuxvomica) are used to halt the process of degeneration and possibly improve the damage caused to vision.
A special Panchkarma procedure called 'Akshi-Tarpan' can be utilized for the treatment of RP.
In this procedure, a paste is uniformly applied around both eyes and medications like warm Yashtimadhuk-Ghrut and Triphala-Ghrut are poured in such a way that both eyes get submerged in the medicines for a few minutes.
After a designated time, the medicine is drained, the paste removed and the eyelids are cleaned.
This procedure is believed to preserve and restore eye vision.
All patients affected with RP should be educated about their condition and given adequate vocational rehabilitation.
Precautions should be adopted in activities like driving.
Genetic counseling is recommended for all people affected with RP.