Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) is part of a group of inherited conditions known as retinal dystrophies. The retina is the light sensitive layer at the back of the eye and within this layer there are lots of tiny receptors which we call photoreceptors which allow us to see. Towards the centre of the retina there are more cone receptors and towards the outer region of the retina there are more rod receptors. The cones help you to see fine detail and colour, whereas rods allow to you to see in dim light. In RP there is a breakdown and loss of these receptors and in the early stages of RP, the rods are more severely affected than the cones.
As the rods die off the common symptoms are difficulty seeing at night and loss of peripheral (side vision), which may cause a person to trip over things or bump into things. Also people with RP may find bright lights uncomfortable and also find it difficult adjusting from light to dark conditions.
RP is the most common inherited retinal degenerative condition. Because there are so many genetic mutations and variations its progression can differ from person to person.