Retinitis Pigmentosa and Retinal Prosthesis

What is Retinitis Pigmentosa and Retinal Prosthesis?

Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) refers to a group of inherited (passed down from parents) diseases causing retinal degeneration and blindness. 

What is Retinitis Pigmentosa?


RP has been associated with more than 100 different gene mutations. Genes determine the type and amount of proteins in cells. With a mutated  RP gene, photoreceptors or their  supporting cells have defective proteins, or have too much or too little of a  particular protein. This causes abnormal function and eventual death of retinal photoreceptors. These mutations  are either inherited or are acquired  (ie, occur in the early stages of development before birth). 


Retinitis pigmentosa symptoms can start as early as childhood, but side effects may not begin to take precedence until early adulthood. Symptoms include:

  • Night blindness
  • Loss of peripheral (side) vision
  • Cataracts
  • Loss of central vision

In some instances, the disorder progresses slowly and may be found on routine examination.