Seeing through their eyes: lived experiences of people with retinitis pigmentosa

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    Abstract

    PurposeRetinitis pigmentosa (RP) is the most common retinal degeneration causing blindness. Although their clinical problems are amenable for the clinical diagnosis, their day-to-day problems for having to live with the disease are mostly unexplored. This study aims to explore and understand the issues and impact of people with RP on quality of life (QoL).MethodsA qualitative research methodology to facilitate the understanding of the experiences of people with RP was carried out. Data were collected through audio-recorded semi-structured interviews. Thematic analysis occurred through the process of line-by-line coding, aggregation, and theme development using the NVivo-10 software.ResultsTwenty-three interviews were conducted (mean age=56 years; females, 14). We identified five major QoL themes: (1) struggle to perform important day-to-day tasks; (2) concerns about disease progression, disease outcome and personal safety; (3) facing a lot of emotional and psychological challenges; (4) experiencing a myriad of visual symptoms; and (5) adopting different strategies to cope and manage stressful circumstances. Difficulty in performing important day-to-day tasks was the most prominent QoL issue among these people. Their major concerns were going blind and uncertainties about their future. They face a lot of emotional and psychological challenges to adapt to the physiological stress associated with the progressive vision loss. However, they adopt several coping strategies to manage the stressful circumstances.ConclusionsPeople with RP experience a myriad of QoL issues. Despite all the hardship, they remain optimistic and learn to accept their eye condition and move on in life.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)741-748
    Number of pages8
    JournalEye
    Volume31
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2017

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