NEW YORK — A study of nearly 7,000 people found retinopathy pigmentosa, or RPP, is rare, treatable with medications and has no treatment option other than surgery.
The new study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, was led by Dr. Stephen Hirsch, an assistant professor of dermatology at the University of California, San Francisco, and his colleagues at UC San Francisco and the University at Buffalo.
RPP is a degenerative skin disease that causes severe, irregularly colored patches on the retina, the part of the eye that receives light.
In addition to the researchers, the authors included dermatologists, optometrists and physicians.
They found that the majority of people who had RPP had either a family history of the disease or a history of severe eye problems.
While RPP has been linked to a range of medical conditions, the majority have no known cause.
One in 20 people who have RPP have a history or a family member with the disease, Hirsch said.
But there are several medications, and several are approved for people with the condition.
“RPP does not appear to be an autoimmune disease,” Hirsch told Fox News.
“There is no genetic or pharmacologic explanation for it.
It is a complex, multifaceted disease that requires careful diagnosis and treatment.”
The researchers looked at the patients’ eye exam findings.
For those with a history, they found that more than 90 percent of people had normal, good-looking patches on their retinas.
A majority of those with RPP also had moderate to severe, even severe, color changes on their retina.
Those who were more likely to have severe color changes were older, women, white, Caucasian and those who were on a certain type of medication, Harshi said.
But people with RFP had a more complicated history than people with other eye conditions, according to the study.
More than 60 percent of those who had no history of RPP or had only milder color changes had a history that included a history with retinotoxicity pigmentosa or a skin disease.
That could include a history in which the pigmentosa had been removed from the skin, the researchers said.
A more recent study showed that people with more severe skin conditions had significantly higher rates of RMP than people without the conditions.
But it is unclear whether RPP could be caused by these other conditions.
Hirsch said that while RPP is rare in the U.S., it can be found in other parts of the world, including China and India.
He said that he and his team are working to find out if it is a new disease or if it has already been there for decades.
This study was funded in part by the National Institutes of Health and the National Eye Institute, with additional support from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the California Endowment for Research.