Retinitis Pigmentosa, or RP for short, is a visual impairment which involves the rapid loss of eyesight.

Nicky from Nicky and Candy’s Street has RP, as does the author of the book, Ben Andrews, and his mum Nicola who inspired the character of Nicky (everyone called her Nicky for short)

Retinitis Pigmentosa is tricky to understand as it can affect people in different ways, can response in different ways depending on the  situation and it can be heard to visually tell whether people have the condition.

But, there are some common things with RP that it’s useful for you to know to better understand the condition and people with it. 

First up, night blindness

One thing that most people with RP have in common is night blindness

This doesn’t mean people with RP can’t see anything at all at night, or that your only blind at night, but it does mean that you see less and it’s harder to see in dark and dull lighting.

This can affect people outside at night, when the lights inside are turned of or even when moving from a light to a dark places; like coming inside from outside or going from the well lit snack area at the cinema into the darker cinema screen.

Second up, low peripheral vision

This just means that people might struggle to see things below, above or at the sides of them.

This can sometimes mean that people with RP can bump into things like the bins, posts and signs in Nicky and Candy’s Street.

It’s also why Nicky uses Candy. Nicky swishes Candy from left to Nicky know if there’s anything coming up below or at the sides.

The only thing Candy can’t let Nicky know about about are things above her like overhanging tree branches so it’s important they’re trimmed regularly. 

Finally, RP, and blindness and visual impairment, doesn’t have a look

Some people with RP like Nicky will use a white cane or wear glasses, others might have a guide dog or darker glasses others might have nothing at all. Some will have some sight, others less and others none at all.

It’s important to remember this so if someone says they have RP, are blind or visually impaired, but they don’t look or have the things you think they should, this doesn’t mean they don’t have the condition.

Everyone with RP is different

We hope these points are useful to you to better understand RP and people with the condition.

And if you’d like to learn more, you can always ask Ben, author of Nicky and Candy’s Street who’d be more than happy to share his experience. You can contact Ben at the bottom of the webpage or on @B

Witten by Ben Andrews on