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What Is RP?

Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is the name given to a group of inherited conditions of the retina

that all lead to a gradual progressive reduction in vision. Difficulties with night vision and peripheral (‘side’) vision are the first things that are noticed. Later, reading vision (detailed vision), colour vision, and central (‘straight-ahead’) vision are affected.


The age at which symptoms start is variable and the rate of deterioration often varies – for

example with the different genetic types – but is generally very slow with changes occurring over years rather than months. In approximately half of all cases there are other family members with RP.

There are three main inheritance patterns, autosomal recessiveautosomal dominant and X-linkedinheritance, depending on the genetic cause, with RP affecting approximately 1 in 3,000 to 4,000 people.

Research is on going into treatments for RP, there are currently 2 gene therapy trials in the UK and a third in the US.

To find out more information about Retinitis Pigmentosa and other inherited retinal diseases, please visit

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