Vitamin A (2018, 2016, 2006) & Retinitis Pigmentosa


Learn more about retinitis pigmentosa.


The researchers report that use of vitamin A is effective in some forms of retinitis pigmentosa (RP) but not others and is in fact, sometimes contraindicated as in the case of RP caused by Stargardt's disease.

In 1993, Berson, et al reported a protective effect for vitamin A and a detrimental effect of vitamin E. In 2004, Berson, et al reported in one study that adding DHA didn't slow progression, but in another, that it did. In a third trial in 2010, they added lutein and concluded that A, lutein, and fish oil combined were effective. However, the methodology of these studies has been criticized, and the outcomes were based on secondary results rather than primary results. Furthermore, the RP patients were not genotyped and there is increased evidence that vitamin A should be avoided in some RP patients.

At the same time, vitamin A is effective in some cases - it just should not be prescribed broadly for all RP patients.

Athanasiou, D., Aguila, M., Bellingham, J., Wenwen, L., McCulley, C., Reeves, P.J., et al. (2018). The molecular and cellular basis of rhodopsin retinitis pigmentosa reveals potential strategies for therapy. Prog Retin Eye Res, Jan;62:1-23.

See also

Sofi, F., Sodi, A., Franco, F., Murro, V., Biagini, D. (2016). Dietary profile of patients with Stargardt's disease and Retinitis Pigmentosa: is there a role for a nutritional approach? BMC Ophthalmol. Jan 22;16:13.
Hartong, D.T., Berson, E.L., Dryja, T.P. (2006). Retinitis pigmentosa. Lancet, Nov 18;368(9549): 1785-809.