Retinitis Pigmentosa

Simulation image of how retinitis pigmentosa affects vision. The scene is restricted to a circle in the centre, with the remaining scene blacked out.

What is Retinitis Pigmentosa?

Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) is a genetic eye condition that causes cells in the light-sensitive retina, located at the back of the eye, to degenerate slowly and progressively. The condition can vary greatly. While many people with RP retain limited vision throughout their lives, others will lose their sight completely.

These images give an impression of what someone with Retinitis Pigmentosa may see compared to someone with normal vision.

Click below to download the full Accessible Fact Sheets for Retinitis Pigmentosa:

Accessible Word version (Word, 516KB) - Retinitis Pigmentosa

Accessible PDF version (PDF, 81KB) - Retinitis Pigmentosa

What are the symptoms?

Generally, symptoms develop between the ages of 10 and 30 years. Some of the first symptoms may include the following:

  • difficulty seeing at night (night-blindness) or in dimly lit areas
  • a narrowing field of vision
  • light and glare sensitivity

Who is at risk?

RP is an hereditary disease that generally occurs in people that have a family history of the condition.

Can it be treated?

There is currently no standard treatment or therapy for RP. However, scientists have isolated several genes responsible for the disease and research is being done on stem cell and gene therapy.

Contact Us

Contact us early and get the support you need. For more information on Vision Australia’s services call our helpline on 1300 84 74 66 or email You can also connect with our services here.