A healthy lifestyle and diet is beneficial, as is avoiding smoking. Regular visits to your optician or consultant, even after diagnosis, are very important - health professionals will monitor your condition and general eye health.
There is a lot of conflicting information on the internet about the benefits of nutrition on inherited sight loss. You should always speak to your consultant before taking supplements or changing your diet significantly.
A healthy balanced diet rich in fruit and vegetables is beneficial to the retina, as well as for general health. Aim to eat plenty of dark green, leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach and broccoli, as well as red, blue and black fruits such as berries. Include two portions of fish in your diet each week if possible.
Vitamins A and E
The first clinical trial regarding the effects of vitamins A and E on retinitis pigmentosa was undertaken in the USA and completed in 1993. It demonstrated a small beneficial effect on visual function of Vitamin A and a damaging effect of Vitamin E.
The findings of this trial have been increasingly questioned over time by various authorities. The documented beneficial effect was seen only on electrophysiological testing and the effect was small. No beneficial effect was found on visual acuity or visual field loss. This form of treatment has not gained widespread acceptance.
It is also important to note that vitamin A can be harmful in certain inherited retinal conditions, including Stargardt disease, cone-rod dystrophy, Best disease, and other types of macular dystrophy.
Individuals who wish to consider taking vitamin supplements should discuss this with their ophthalmologist in the first instance. High dose vitamin A is not recommended for those under age 18 years. Routine monitoring of blood Vitamin A concentration and liver function has been recommended for any individual on Vitamin A therapy. Women of childbearing age need to be cautioned about potential harmful effects of high-dose Vitamin A on the unborn child. Because Vitamin E may adversely affect the course of the condition retinitis pigmentosa, it is recommended that individuals with this condition avoid high-dose supplements.