Retinitis Pigmentosa

Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) is a hereditary disease that is rare. With RP, the rods in the eye (rods are what gives us peripheral and night vision) deteriorate.

The disease may be X-linked (passed from a mother to her son), autosomal recessive (genes required from both parents) or autosomal dominant (gene required from one parent) trait. Since it is often a sex-linked disease, retinitis pigmentosa affects males more than females.

Patients with early RP first notice difficulty seeing in low light and lose peripheral vision over time. In some patients, RP is mild while in others, it can lead to blindness.

Signs and Symptoms

  • difficulty seeing in low light
  • gradual loss or peripheral vision
  • eye fatigue
  • glare


Usually, RP is detected in childhood but can go undetected until later in life. It is usually discovered when the patient complains about not being able to see at night. During a dilated fundus exam, the doctor is able to see dot of pigment scattered over the peripheral retina. A fluorescein angiogram and electroretinography (ERG) may be ordered.


Currently, there is no effective or standard treatment for RP.


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