Rod photoreceptor death is a form of retinal degeneration that rewires the retina, which eventually leads to blindness. We use genetic and physiological methods to study how the retina encodes the visual world differently. Using spike train consistency and information theoretic metrics, we find that cone mediated visual performance is maintained during retinal degeneration. Next, we find genetic targets that may recover the neural networks in RP patients. These combined studies reveal principles in network changes during degeneration and may advance vision restoration in the retina.