This is a rare progressive disorder of the retina that lines the inside of the eye and responds to light. It is only one of numerous such disorders.
Vision problems have their onset in the second to fourth decades when the macula (the portion of the retina that we use for our sharpest vision) no longer functions normally. However, night vision problems may cause problems before your eye doctor can see changes in the macula indicating that damage to the retina has already occurred. This is a progressive disorder which may lead to severe loss of vision eventually. General health is not affected.
This is an autosomal dominant condition in which only a single mutant gene is required to cause disease. It is passed in a vertical pattern directly from parent to child with 50% likelihood for each child.
This disorder is diagnosed by an ophthalmologist based on the appearance of the retina and the course of the disease. Treatment with daily doses of vitamin A can reverse the symptoms of night blindness. Other treatments for the macular degeneration as recommended by your eye doctor may also be beneficial. Low vision aids can be helpful in early stages of the disease.