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About RP

Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is the name given to a group of inherited conditions of the retina (see Structure of the Eye) 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 recessive, autosomal dominant and X-linked inheritance, depending on the genetic cause, with RP affecting approximately 1 in 3,000 to 4,000 people.

Whether you have just been diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa (or one of the many related inherited retinal conditions) or have known about the condition for a while, this website will provide a lot of information.

Also, we recommend that you visit The RP Patient Pathway which provides lots of information about how to cope with living with RP and about the people and services you will come across.

We are grateful to Dr Michel Michaelides BSc MB BS MD FRCOphth FACS of Moorfields Eye Hospital and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology for authoring this section and the Research section of this website.


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