My Experiences with RP

by Ida Yearby

I was 25 years old when my ophthalmologist discovered that I had RP. I was working as a secretary and had been for 3 years. Both my parents had Glaucoma and were being treated for that disease. My father lost one of his eyes to that disease and my mother's was continually treated. I also had a Great Uncle who lost sight in both of his eyes to Glaucoma. I am an isolated case in my family as far as we know. I have two brothers and have one sister and nether one of them has this dreaded disease.

As a child, I often had many problems and wore glasses since I was 10. I have poor muscle control, am far sighted in one eye and near sighted in the other. I have RP in both of my eyes. I can no longer read books as I have Ocular Hypertension and prolonged reading, or looking tires my eyes and causes pain to the eyeballs from the pressure. I was forced to retire from work and can no longer drive. I have tunnel vision and I also have faded out sight. What I mean by faded out sight is that I cannot recognize colors
and everything seems to be a light gray color. I have to wear shades whenever I go out into the sunlight.

My eye doctor has listed me as legally blind in both eyes and I wear Tri-focals and have been for the past 10 years and I'm now 52 years old. I have learned how to cook and do other chores around the house using my hands as eyes. I don't cross the street without using my ears as eyes. I can still stay by myself, but when I go out in the public I have to have help in buying groceries, clothes, etc. I don't recognize people anymore, therefore I rely on my ears to determine who they are.

Since I was born with this disease, even though I was not labeled as having RP 52 years ago, I have learned how to handle myself in all areas of my life. I can't recognize money by sight. With coins, I measure them by their size

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Page Created 08/18/2001