Cone-Rod Dystrophy: Symptom, Treatment


Cone-rod dystrophy (CRD) is considered as a rare inherited eye disorder that affects the retina and causes vision loss.

Cone rod dystrophy is caused by deterioration of photoreceptor cone and rod cells. It is also known as cone-rod degeneration, retinal cone-rod dystrophy, and tapetoretinal degeneration.

Cone-rod dystrophy is a rare congenital disorder with an estimated prevalence of 1 in 40,000 individuals. Both males and females may be affected.


There are two broad categories of CRD:

  • Stationary CRD

Stationary CRD begins to develop during infancy or childhood and symptoms remain stationary for most of life.

  • Progressive CRD

Progressive CRD usually develops a little later, in late childhood or early adulthood. The symptoms progressively worsen to blindness, but usually not complete blindness, unless the rods also deteriorate.


The symptoms of cone-rod dystrophy usually begin to appear in childhood. The first signs are usually a decrease in visual acuity, or sharpness of vision, and an abnormal sensitivity to light.

As cone-rod dystrophy progresses, it can cause loss of color perception, loss of peripheral vision and blind spots in the central field of vision.

Symptoms of cone-rod dystrophy may include:

  • abnormal retinal pigmentation (causing changes in the color of the retina),
  • night blindness (the inability to see well at night, or in poor light),
  • extreme sensitivity to light (exposure to bright light causes discomfort or pain in the eyes),
  • abnormal color vision (the inability to see the difference between colors),
  • visual impairment (defined as significant limitation of vision).


Many clinical conditions may have similar signs and symptoms. The doctor may perform additional tests to rule out other clinical conditions to get a definitive diagnosis.


Currently, there is no treatment to stop a person with CRD from losing their vision.

However, there may be treatment options that can help slow down the degenerative process, such as light avoidance and the use of low-vision aids.

It is important that people with CRD receive support and resources to help them cope with the social and psychological impact of vision loss. Possible future treatments for CRD may include

  • gene therapy,
  • stem cell therapy,
  • and retinal implants.

Keywords: cone-rod dystrophy; cone-rod degeneration; retinal cone-rod dystrophy; tapetoretinal degeneration.

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* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.