Retinitis pigmentosa is one in a group of diseases classified as hereditary chorioretinal dystrophies. There are multiple forms of retinitis pigmentosa, each occurring as a result of a specific abnormal gene. The disease is inherited in a number of different ways. Genetic testing and counseling are very helpful in determining the form of the disease, how it has been inherited, and what treatments are available or are being researched. Retinitis pigmentosa is usually diagnosed during young adulthood and can be difficult to accept.