[Pharmacological concepts to treat hereditary retinal degenerations]

Ophthalmologe. 2012 Feb;109(2):112-20. doi: 10.1007/s00347-011-2452-4.
[Article in German]


This article reviews the current pharmacological strategies to treat inherited retinal degeneration. To date there is no causal therapy despite growing knowledge of the particular pathomechanisms. However, treatment is available for complications, such as cystic macular changes and cystoid macular edema. To reduce retinal thickness systemic or topical carboanhydrase inhibitors can be applied and in rare cases combined with steroids when indicated, however reduction of retinal thickness is not always accompanied by improvement of visual acuity. Regular follow-up with optical coherence tomography is required. In some cases, potentially neuroprotective agents (valproic acid, ciliary neurotrophic factor and Ca(2+ ) channel inhibitors) or food supplementation (vitamin A, lutein, synthetic retinoids and decosahexaenoic acid) may have a positive impact on disease progression (e.g. reduction in progression of visual field loss or individual electrophysiological parameters). However, beneficial effects and side effects, e.g. of vitamin A substitution, depend not only on the disease phenotype (such as retinitis pigmentosa) but also on the actual genotype. Furthermore, no data are available regarding the application of pharmaceuticals in the pediatric population.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Macular Edema / drug therapy*
  • Macular Edema / genetics*
  • Neuroprotective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Retinoids / therapeutic use*
  • Steroids / therapeutic use*


  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Retinoids
  • Steroids
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids