Retinitis epidemiology and demographics

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Ilan Dock, B.S.


The prevalence of retinitis pigmentosa is approximately one case per every 2500 to 7000 people. [1] Incidence has not drastically changed over the course of the past decade. However, the risk of contracting cytomegalovirus based retinitis within HIV patients has drastically been reduced with the introduction of HAART treatment.[2] There is no specific race or ethnicity associated with infection, nor is it gender based. Diagnosis usually occurs during a patients childhood or early adulthood.

Epidemiology and Demographics


  • Clinically diagnosed cases of retinitis pigmentosa occur at an approximate rate of one case per every 2500 to 7000 people. [1]
  • CMV affects nearly 20 percent of patients suffering from an HIV infection.
  • 50,000-100,000 patients are currently diagnosed with retintis pigmentosa. [2]
  • Individuals suffering from infection resulting form infectious agents that may cause retintis, will rarely show an progression of retinitis.


  • Retinitis is commonly diagnosed within the population of young children and patients in their early adulthood.


  • There is no clear disparity between male and female populations affected by retinitis pigmentosa.
  • On average men with X-linked retinitis pigmentosa suffer from the worst prognosis.


  • There is no ethnic or racial specificity associated with the development of retinitis. [3]

Developed Countries

  • Nearly 50,000 to 100,000 patients are diagnosed with retintis pigmentosa in the United States.
  • Retinitis, as a result of an infectious agent, is very rare among patients in Western countries.
  • Prior to HAART therapy, nearly one-third of individuals suffering from an HIV infection progressed towards developing a form of retinitis.
  • Twenty percent of individuals suffering from HIV in developed countries, where HAART and anti-CMV treatment is available, will develop CMV based retinitis. [2]

Developing Countries

  • A total of 5 to 25 percent of HIV diagnosed patients in developing countries suffer from cytomegalovirus induced retinits.
  • There is a high mortality rate associated with infectious agents that cause retinitis in developing countries. Therefore many patients in developing countries, suffering from the aforementioned diseases, may perish prior to the progression of retinitis. [2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Retinitis Pigmentosa Overview. 2013; Accessed 4/8/16
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 HIV-Related CMV Retinitis in the Developing World. Gabrielle Weiner, Contributing Writer, Interviewing: David Heiden, MD, Gary N. Holland, MD, and Jeremy D. Keenan, MD, MPH Accessed 4/8/16
  3. Ferrari S, Di iorio E, Barbaro V, Ponzin D, Sorrentino FS, Parmeggiani F. Retinitis pigmentosa: genes and disease mechanisms. Curr Genomics. 2011;12(4):238-49. Accessed 4/8/16

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