3. What is known of the function of the retinal pigment epithelial cells?

  • development of photoreceptors during embryogenesis
  • uptake, transport, storage, metabolism and isomerization of vitamin A
  • recognition, ingestion and phagocytosis of shedded photoreceptor outer segment tips
  • detoxification of drugs
  • synthesis of melanin and extracellular matrixes


  • maintenance of the photoreceptor environment
  • selective transport of metabolites to and from the retina to contribute to adhesion between the retina and RPE

Physical and optical

  • promotion of retinal adhesion
  • maintenance of the outer blood-retinal barrier
  • stray light absorption by melanin to control light scatter
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