Single-cell transcriptomics provide a systematic map of gene expression in different human cell types. The next challenge is to systematically understand cell-type-specific gene function. The integration of CRISPR-based functional genomics and stem cell technology enables the scalable interrogation of gene function in differentiated human cells. Here we present the first genome-wide CRISPR interference and CRISPR activation screens in human neurons. We uncover pathways controlling neuronal response to chronic oxidative stress, which is implicated in neurodegenerative diseases. Unexpectedly, knockdown of the lysosomal protein prosaposin strongly sensitizes neurons, but not other cell types, to oxidative stress by triggering the formation of lipofuscin, a hallmark of aging, which traps iron, generating reactive oxygen species and triggering ferroptosis. We also determine transcriptomic changes in neurons after perturbation of genes linked to neurodegenerative diseases. To enable the systematic comparison of gene function across different human cell types, we establish a data commons named CRISPRbrain.