The retinal pigment epithelium contains three major types of pigment granules; melanosomes, lipofuscin and melanolipofuscin. Melanosomes in the retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) are formed during embryogenesis and mature during early postnatal life while lipofuscin and melanolipofuscin granules accumulate as a function of age. The difficulty in studying the formation and consequences of melanosomes and lipofuscin granules in RPE cell culture is compounded by the fact that these pigment granules do not normally occur in established RPE cell lines and pigment granules are rapidly lost in adult human primary culture. This review will consider options available for overcoming these limitations and permitting the study of melanosomes and lipofuscin in cell culture and will briefly evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of the different protocols. © 2014 The Author.