Objective To observe the protective effects of Ginaton (Gin) and Puerarin (Pue) on N-methyl-N-nitrosourea (MNU)-induced retinal degeneration in SD rats and to explore its mechanisms. Methods Female SD rats were divided into 6 groups randomly, including control group, model group, puerarin groups (high dose and medium dose)and ginaton groups (high dose and medium dose). Drugs were injected intraperitoneally into 47-day SD rats once a day. At 50 days of age,all rats in model group and drug groups also received a single intraperitoneal injection of 60 mg±kg-1 MNU. Rats in control group received i. p. injection of physiological saline. All rats were sacrificed at different times after MNU or physiological saline treatment. The apoptotic index of photoreceptor cells were calculated by TUNEL labeling and retinal damage was evaluated based on retinal thickness. Results At the 7th day after MNU treatment, the peripherial retinal thickness was 36 μm in model group, (44 ± 2) fan and (37± 2) fan in high and medium doses of Gin groups, (46 ± 2) fun and (35±2)μm in high and medium doses of Pue groups, respectively. In the peripheral retina, the apoptotic index 24 hours after MNU treatment was(38.0±3.6)% in model group, (26.3±2.7)% and (37.4±2.9)% in high and medium doses of Gin groups, (25.4±3.0) % and (39.0± 2.5) % in high and medium doses of Pue groups. Conclusion Gin or Pue could effectively suppress MNU-induced peripheal retinal damage by anti-apoptosis in a dose-dependent manner. However,no protective effect on MNU-induced central retinal damage was found.