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What is retinal dystrothy and what causes it?

what is retinal dystrothy and what causes it?
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Answered in 17 minutes by:
1/4/2013
Dr. Dan B.
Dr. Dan B., Board Certified Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 3,343
Experience: Eye surgeon experienced in cataracts, glaucoma, retina & neuro-ophthalmology
Verified
Doctor DanB : Hello and thanks for your question. Are you available to chat?
Customer:

I am available to chat.

Doctor DanB : A retinal dystrophy is an inherited condition; meaning, this happens because of a genetic defect. There are many kinds of retinal dystrophies and it is difficult to pinpoint exact genes for many of them. Because it is inherited and genetic, there is nothing that happens in a person's life that causes this to happen; it happens because of the DNA of the individual. Does that make sense?
Customer:

yes it makes sense. what can be done for it are there any tests and can the person become blind?

Doctor DanB : Most retinal dystrophies don't have satisfactory treatments that change the course of the disease; some retinal dystrophies are associated with other types of eye problems such as myopia (nearsightedness) or cataracts which are treatable.
Customer:

my grand daughter has stigmatisms in both eyes,nastagmus and near sighted is this caused from her retinas and can it be treated? She has glasses but continues to have prescription changed. She is now saying her eyes hurt and she says she cannot see sometimes

Doctor DanB : Her astigmatism and nearsightedness are associations (meaning they likely happen more often with these dystrophies) but are not caused by the dystrophy, per se. The nystagmus is likely a product of poor vision which is likely from the retinal dystrophy. Unfortunately, even with the correct glasses, it can become more and more difficult for her to see. As far as eye pain goes, though, patients with retinal dystrophies can complain of increased sensitivity to light, which lead to eye discomfort. If this is the case with her, some tint to her lenses can help this.
Customer:

Her glasses are tinted for outside and will change in bright lights. She is now having problems with for example she ran right into a tree,she runs into playground equipment and i have seen her off balance.

Doctor DanB : These all sound like symptoms that speak to a lack of depth perception. These are common childhood behaviors on general, but in someone who has poor vision, and likely limited depth perception because of it, I would unfortunately expect these types of episodes more frequently than the average toddler.
Customer:

Is there anything we can do to help her with activities or anything to help her with headaches she has been having?

Doctor DanB : How old are her glasses?
Customer:

She got new ones in august new prescription

Doctor DanB : I think the most important thing to do is make sure she's getting her prescription updated at least once per year. Unfortunately, as far as getting her to have less of these "incidents" I don't necessarily think there's anything pro-active you can do about this; she will lear, as most toddlers do, how to have less of them, it's just that it may take her longer to learn those lessons because of her decreased vision. Does that make sense?
Customer:

yes that makes sense. Can she lose her vision? Her eye doctor says he thought her glasses would help the condition but it is getting worse every time she goes to the eye doctor

Doctor DanB : The vision is getting worse or the prescription is getting stronger with each subsequent vision?
Customer:

prescription getting stronger doctor says vision getting worse

Doctor DanB : Unfortunately, in kids who are nearsighted (myopic), the natural course of myopia is one of steady increasing in the strength of it as the child grows; so that isn't so surprising. Some retinal dystrophies can be associated with a quicker progression of myopia, though. Unfortunately, there isn't anything that can be done to change that progression, only to keep up with the change in the prescription regularly.
Customer:

thank you for all your help and helping me to understand

Doctor DanB : My pleasure. Good luck to you and her. Your feedback is important to me and will help me improve my encounter with future customers.  Please rate your encounter with me by providing feedback; any positive feedback and/or bonus you may feel prompted to provide would be welcomed and is appreciated.  If you feel like your concerns are not resolved or you have a problem or issue with anything I have said or haven’t said, please don’t issue a negative feedback rating—My goal is your satisfaction and I would rather work together to solve your concerns, until you are satisfied, than have you leave our encounter unhappy and unsatisfied.  My opinion is solely informative and does not constitute a formal medical opinion or recommendation. For a formal medical opinion and/or recommendation you must see an eye doctor. Thanks for your inquiry! 
Dr. Dan B.
Dr. Dan B., Board Certified Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 3,343
Experience: Eye surgeon experienced in cataracts, glaucoma, retina & neuro-ophthalmology
Verified
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Dr. Dan B.
Dr. Dan B.
Dr. Dan B., Board Certified Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 3,343
3,343 Satisfied Customers
Experience: Eye surgeon experienced in cataracts, glaucoma, retina & neuro-ophthalmology

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