Inherited retinal diseases (IRDs) are a leading cause of blindness. To date, 260 disease-causing genes have been identified, but there is currently a lack of available and effective treatment options. Cone photoreceptors are responsible for daylight vision but are highly susceptible to disease progression, the loss of cone-mediated vision having the highest impact on the quality of life of IRD patients. Cone degeneration can occur either directly via mutations in cone-specific genes (primary cone death), or indirectly via the primary degeneration of rods followed by subsequent degeneration of cones (secondary cone death). How cones degenerate as a result of pathological mutations remains unclear, hindering the development of effective therapies for IRDs. This review aims to highlight similarities and differences between primary and secondary cone cell death in inherited retinal diseases in order to better define cone death mechanisms and further identify potential treatment options.