Retinitis Pigmentosa: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 10/13/2021

Retinitis pigmentosa is a group of inherited progressive disorders that affects the retinas of both eyes. All of these disorders cause progressive degeneration of the retina, specifically of the light-sensitive (photoreceptor) cells known as the rod and cone photoreceptors.

Symptoms can begin at any age, although the condition is usually diagnosed in adolescents. Early symptoms include

  • difficulty with night vision,
  • slow adaptation to the dark, and
  • gradual loss of peripheral vision.

Other associated symptoms can include

  • difficulty reading print,
  • problems figuring out detailed images, and
  • stumbling or tripping over objects not seen.

People usually retain their central vision until late in the disease.

Causes of retinitis pigmentosa

Defects in over 100 genes have been linked to the condition.

Other retinitis pigmentosa symptoms and signs

  • Difficulty Reading Print
  • Difficulty with Night Vision
  • Gradual Loss of Peripheral Vision
  • Problems Figuring Out Detailed Images
  • Slow Adaptation to the Dark
  • Stumbling or Tripping Over Objects Not Seen


Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis) Symptoms, Causes, Treatments See Slideshow

Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.