University of Iowa Health Care

Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

Tapetal sheen associated with the carrier state of X-linked retinitis pigmentosa

Contributor: Jesse Vislisel, MD

Photographer: Brice Critser, CRA

Female carriers of X-linked recessive eye diseases may show variable expression of the disorders depending on the timing of X-inactivation. Patients with late X-inactivation have widely dispersed affected cells intermixed with unaffected cells, sometimes producing a characteristic tapetal reflex or "metallic sheen" as seen in this photograph. This patient is an asymptomatic carrier of X-linked retinitis pigmentosa who has two affected sons.

right eye
Tapetal sheen

left eye
Tapetal sheen

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Ophthalmic Atlas Images by, The University of Iowa are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

last updated: 10/28/2013
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