While there are numerous diseases that afflict the eyes, including glaucoma and macular degeneration, brought on by aging, Rod-Cone Dystrophy is a genetically based deterioration of vision that children are born with. It is caused by damage to the genes that direct the creation of proteins crucial make up the rods and cones cells in the retina. These are what provide us with both day and night vision. Without a sufficient amount of these proteins, vision deteriorates and blindness may result.
While rod cells provide peripheral vision and night vision, the cones provide central vision and color vision. Cone opsins (aka “Photopsins”) are the photoreceptor proteins found in the cone cells of the retina that are the basis of color vision Iodpsin pigment in the cones helps protect them.
In Rod Dystrophy, the genetic code for rhodopsin (purple) pigment is damaged. This is a light-sensitive receptor protein that enables us to see in low light conditions. Cone Dystrophy, the genetic code that produces iodpsin pigment malfunctions. Cone Dystrophy can be stationary (stable, usually after appearing in childhood) or progressive (getting worse over time).
Much of the current research into rod-cone dystrophy is focused on genetic research. Scientists are busy identifying the faulty genes and how they function. Stem cells or other genetic therapy offers hope for a treatment and possibly cure in the future. In the meantime, nutritional and lifestyle choices may slow the progression of rod-cone dystrophy.
The cones provide central vision and color vision. Iodpsin pigment in the cones helps protect them. Cone opsins (also known as “Photopsins”) are the photoreceptor proteins found in the cone cells of the retina that are the basis of color vision. In Cone Dystrophy, the genetic code that produces iodpsin pigment malfunctions. Cone Dystrophy can be stationary (stable, usually after appearing in childhood) or progressive (getting worse over time).
Signs and symptoms of rod-cone dystrophy in young children may include Nystagmus, in which the eyes move quickly from one edge of the eyes to another; Slow eyes, which meander about without fixing or pausing on objects, and constant eye poking.
In the case of cone dystrophy, bright light may cause vision to appear blurry and washed out. Stable Cone Dystrophy is also called “achromatopsia” because many patients cannot see color. Malfunctioning cone cells expose the rods to too much light, making vision in bright light difficult. Central vision can be blurred, and colors not bright.with cone dystrophy, Things that are not moving, and color objects, fine details in daylight, printed words and faces may be difficult to recognize.
Parents or guardians who suspects their child may not be seeing clearly should consult an optometrist or ophthalmologist immediately so they can be screened and tested for cone and rod-related diseases, as well as other possible causes. Several other diseases that affect the photoreceptor cells are Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy, Usher Syndrome and Batten’s Disease.
Note: Although there isn’t any cure, or any conventional treatments to hold off or halt the disease’s progression, specialists can teach vision-impaired people techniques for navigating everyday tasks. Devices and technology aimed at the visually impaired can improve quality of life and open up opportunities, including the use of tinted glasses.