Vision in dim-light conditions is triggered by photoactivation of rhodopsin, the visual pigment of rod photoreceptor cells. Rhodopsin is made of a protein, the G protein coupled receptor (GPCR) opsin, and the chromophore 11-cis-retinal. Vertebrate rod opsin is the GPCR best characterized at the atomic level of detail. Since the release of the first crystal structure 20 years ago, a huge number of structures have been released that, in combination with valuable spectroscopic determinations, unveiled most aspects of the photobleaching process. A number of spontaneous mutations of rod opsin have been found linked to vision-impairing diseases like autosomal dominant or autosomal recessive retinitis pigmentosa (adRP or arRP, respectively) and autosomal congenital stationary night blindness (adCSNB). While adCSNB is mainly caused by constitutive activation of rod opsin, RP shows more variegate determinants affecting different aspects of rod opsin function. The vast majority of missense rod opsin mutations affects folding and trafficking and is linked to adRP, an incurable disease that awaits light on its molecular structure determinants. This review article summarizes all major structural information available on vertebrate rod opsin conformational states and the insights gained so far into the structural determinants of adCSNB and adRP linked to rod opsin mutations. Strategies to design small chaperones with therapeutic potential for selected adRP rod opsin mutants will be discussed as well.