Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a genetically linked disease and is the major cause of inherited blindness, affecting 1:4000 people in the Western world and as many as 1:400 in Southern India and parts of China. The disease is characterised by the progressive loss of photoreceptor cells and peripheral vision and is associated with night-vision difficulties.
RP can present at any age from childhood to the mid-50s but is most usually diagnosed in early adulthood. There is no known effective treatment for RP. For those affected, a bionic eye offers significant hope.