Retinitis pigmentosa is the most common form of hereditary retinal degeneration causing blindness. Great progress has been made in the identification of the causative genes. Gene diagnosis will soon become an affordable routine clinical test because of the wide application of next-generation sequencing. Gene-based therapy provides hope for curing the disease. Investigation into the molecular pathways from mutation to rod cell death may reveal targets for developing new treatment. Related progress with existing systematic review is briefly summarized so that readers may find the relevant references for in-depth reading. Future trends in the study of retinitis pigmentosa are also discussed.