This study states that X-linked retinopathies represent a significant proportion of monogenic retinal disease. They include progressive and stationary conditions, with and without syndromic features. Many are X-linked recessive, but several exhibit a phenotype in female carriers, which can help establish diagnosis and yield insights into disease mechanisms. The presence of affected carriers can misleadingly suggest autosomal dominant inheritance. Some disorders (such as RPGR-associated retinopathy) show diverse phenotypes from variants in the same gene and also highlight limitations of current genetic sequencing methods. X-linked disease frequently arises from loss of function, implying potential for benefit from gene replacement strategies.

We review X-inactivation and X-linked inheritance, and explore burden of disease attributable to X-linked genes in our clinically and genetically characterised retinal disease cohort, finding correlation between gene transcript length and numbers of families. We list relevant genes and discuss key clinical features, disease mechanisms, carrier phenotypes and novel experimental therapies.

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