What is bradyopsia?
Bradyopsia is a rare condition that affects vision. The term "bradyopsia" is from the Greek words for slow vision. In affected individuals, the eyes adapt more slowly than usual to changing light conditions. For example, people with this condition are blinded for several seconds when going from a dark environment into a bright one, such as when walking out of a darkened movie theater into daylight. Their eyes also have trouble adapting from bright light to dark conditions, such as when driving into a dark tunnel on a sunny day.
Some people with bradyopsia also have difficulty seeing some moving objects, particularly small objects moving against a bright background. As a result, they often have trouble watching or participating in sports with a ball, such as soccer or tennis. People with bradyopsia can have reduced sharpness (acuity) of vision, although acuity may depend on the conditions under which vision is tested. Visual acuity may appear to be severely affected if it is tested under bright lights, but it can be near normal if tested in a dim environment. The ability to see colors and distinguish between them is normal.
The vision problems associated with bradyopsia become apparent in early childhood. They are usually stable, which means they do not worsen over time.
How common is bradyopsia?
Bradyopsia appears to be rare. Only a few affected individuals worldwide have been described in the medical literature.
What genes are related to bradyopsia?
Bradyopsia can be caused by mutations in the RGS9 gene or in the RGS9BP gene (which is also known as R9AP). These genes provide instructions for making proteins that are necessary for normal vision. The proteins are found in light-detecting cells in the eye called photoreceptors. When light enters the eye, it stimulates specialized pigments in these cells. This stimulation triggers a series of chemical reactions that produce an electrical signal, which is interpreted by the brain as vision. Once photoreceptors have been stimulated by light, they must return to their resting state before they can be stimulated again. The RGS9 and RGS9BP proteins play an essential role in returning photoreceptors to their resting state quickly after light exposure.
Mutations in either the RGS9 or RGS9BP gene prevent photoreceptors from recovering quickly after responding to light. Normally they return to their resting state in a fraction of a second, but in people with mutations in one of these genes, it can take ten seconds or longer. During that time, the photoreceptors cannot respond to light. This delay causes temporary blindness in response to changing light conditions and interferes with seeing small objects when they are in motion.
In some people with bradyopsia, no mutations in the RGS9 or RGS9BP gene have been found. The cause of the condition in these individuals is unknown.
How do people inherit bradyopsia?
This condition is inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern, which means both copies of the gene in each cell have mutations. The parents of an individual with an autosomal recessive condition each carry one copy of the mutated gene, but they typically do not show signs and symptoms of the condition.
Where can I find information about diagnosis or management of bradyopsia?
These resources address the diagnosis or management of bradyopsia and may include treatment providers.
- Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh:
- Genetic Testing Registry: Prolonged electroretinal response
- MedlinePlus Encyclopedia: Electroretinography
- Prevent Blindness: Living Well with Low
You might also find information on the diagnosis or management of bradyopsia in Educational resources and Patient support.
General information about the diagnosis and management of genetic conditions is available in the Handbook. Read more about genetic testing, particularly the difference between clinical tests and research tests.
To locate a healthcare provider, see How can I find a genetics professional in my area? in the Handbook.
Where can I find additional information about bradyopsia?
You may find the following resources about bradyopsia helpful. These materials are written for the general public.
You may also be interested in these resources, which are designed for healthcare professionals and researchers.
What other names do people use for bradyopsia?
- prolonged electroretinal response suppression
What if I still have specific questions about bradyopsia?
Where can I find general information about genetic conditions?
The Handbook provides basic information about genetics in clear language.
- What does it mean if a disorder seems to run in my family?
- What are the different ways in which a genetic condition can be inherited?
- If a genetic disorder runs in my family, what are the chances that my children will have the condition?
- Why are some genetic conditions more common in particular ethnic groups?
These links provide additional genetics resources that may be useful.
What glossary definitions help with understanding bradyopsia?
autosomal ; autosomal recessive ; cell ; cones ; gene ; inherited ; recessive ; retina ; rods ;visual acuity
You may find definitions for these and many other terms in the Genetics Home Reference Glossary.
See also Understanding Medical Terminology.
References (5 links)
The resources on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Users seeking information about a personal genetic disease, syndrome, or condition should consult with a qualified healthcare professional. See How can I find a genetics professional in my area? in the Handbook