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Is retinitis pigmentosa hereditary?

Q: My wife has a family history of retinitis pigmentosa. My wife’s mother does not have any vision problem and she has two daughters and one of them is my wife. My kid is 6 months old; what are the chances of him having the same? What can we do to know if he would have the problem in future?

A:Retinitis pigmentosa is a condition, which can be inherited; however, the disease only shows up later in life, usually after teens. The chances of your son having the disease are negligible. Later the start of the symptoms, less is the severity of the disease. The first symptom usually is night blindness, i.e. ability to see less well in dim light conditions. Even if you do find out early, you will not be able to do anything apart from proper career advice. The tests available are called electroretinogram and electro-oculogram. These are electrical tests somewhat similar to ECG for heart. I would advise you not to worry about this condition or arrange to have these tests done as his mother or grandmother does not have any manifestations of this disease.

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