Retinal degenerative diseases

What are retinal degenerative diseases?

Millions of people around the world suffer from retinal degenerative diseases at varying degrees of vision loss including complete blindness.

Retinal degenerative disease is a debilitating condition with a major impact on daily life. From performing basic functions to personal independence and mental health, vision loss affects a wide range of everyday tasks such as reading, watching TV, driving etc.

Photoreceptor cells

Common to all retinal degenerative diseases is the damage to the photoreceptor cells of the retina, which malfunction and disappear. The photoreceptor cells are the light sensing cells of the retina, the delicate nerve layer that lines the back of the eye.

Normally, the retina's photoreceptor cells sense light (similar to the way a camera captures a picture), initiate a cascade of electrical impulses that are sent through the retina and the optic nerve to the brain and create an image.

image of blind woman walking dog

When the photoreceptor cells malfunction due to the degenerative disease, the image that is received is blurred, distorted or completely unseen. This is often a progressive disease in which the person will suffer a continuous decline in vision.

image, blurry vision

The most common retinal degenerative diseases are Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP)