Inherited retinal diseases/disorders (IRDs) are very serious because they can progressively lead to vision loss and even blindness over time. IRDs are caused when there is a faulty gene that does not create proteins properly within the eye. Without the right amount and type of proteins in the eye, you will have a retinal disorder.
Symptoms of IRDs
Different types of IRDs produce different symptoms. If you or your child are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact our retina doctors in Renton, WA, to arrange an eye exam.
- Vision loss in infancy
- Gradual loss of vision
- Night blindness in children or early adulthood
- Wiggly, back-and-forth eye movement in babies
- Peripheral vision loss
- Central vision loss
- Loss of color vision
Types of IRDs
There are several common types of IRDs that can affect people of all ages and cause vision loss at varying rates:
- Leber Congenital Amaurosis (LCA): present during infancy or early childhood, this can be caused by mutations in over 19 different genes
- Retinitis Pigmentosa: deterioration of the rod and cone photoreceptors, the light-sensing cells in the retina
- X-Linked Choroideremia: common in males, this is a degeneration of the choroid and retina cells that starts in childhood
- Cone-Rod Dystrophy: starting in childhood, color vision is lost first due to deterioration of the cone photoreceptors, then the rod photoreceptors deteriorate, leading to central vision loss and then peripheral vision loss
- Juvenile Macular Degeneration (Stargardt’s Disease): beginning in childhood or early teen years, this may be caused by environmental factors or lifestyle choices like smoking, rather than gene mutation
Treatment for IRDs
For some patients, gene therapy can be used to correct the faulty gene by injecting a copy of the faulty gene under the retina to help the eyes create the proper proteins. Genetic testing is necessary to identify the specific gene that is causing the disorder so the correct gene therapy can be administered. There are many clinical trials of gene therapies being studied and tested now to address vision loss from the different types of IRDs. Our team at Retina Institute of Washington continues to follow this research and keeps our patients updated on treatment options.
To learn more about IRD treatments, contact us today to schedule an appointment. Call (425) 228-6262 or click here.