RP is an inherited eye disease, mainly caused by mutated genes inherited from one or both parents. There are many different gene mutations that exist in RP.

These genetic mutations can be passed from parent to offspring through one of three genetic inheritance patterns:

  • Autosomal recessive – parents carry the gene but have no symptoms themselves. They could have some children who are affected and others who are not.
  • Autosomal dominant – an affected parent could have affected and unaffected children.
  • X-linked – only the males are affected, the females carry the genetic trait but do not experience serious vision loss.
If a family member is diagnosed with RP, it is strongly advised that other family members have an eye exam by a physician who is specially trained to detect and treat retinal degenerative disorders. Discussing inheritance patterns and family planning with a genetic counselor can also be useful.


The Discovery Eye Foundation
Learn what you can do if you have Retinitis Pigmentosa through The Discovery Eye Foundation- a Los Angeles-based non-profit organization.