Diagnosis Ophthalmology & Optometry

Retinitis Pigmentosa

A series of tests are available to confirm a diagnosis of RP. These include:

  • Dilated Eye Exam During a dilated eye exam, you are given special eye drops to dilate your pupils, allowing your ophthalmologist to clearly see the retina at the back of your eye. The drops make you temporarily sensitive to light and cause your vision to be blurry.
  • Retinal Photograph A special camera may be used to take photographs of your retina, which help to track the progression of your RP. This may include pictures of the retinal thickness with a camera called an OCT (optical coherence tomography) that uses dim red light.
  • Fluorescein Angiography A test called fluorescein angiography may also be recommended to obtain more detailed images of your retina.
  • Visual Field Test A visual field test is used to determine whether your peripheral vision has been affected.
  • Electro-diagnostic tests Electro-diagnostic tests such as electroretinogram (ERG), electro-oculogram (EOG) and multifocal electroretinogram (mfERG) may be recommended to investigate how your retina is working. The electrical activity of your retina is measured under different lighting conditions to determine which part of your retina is not functioning normally. Most of these tests require your eyes to be dilated (as above) and often use a hard contact lens in each eye to measure the eye’s responses to different kinds of light.

UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.