- All About Vision.com
- Genetics Home Reference
- The Center for Visually Impaired
OUT OF THE DARKNESS!
While there are currently no treatments for Stargardt disease, the Foundation Fighting Blindness is supporting several promising avenues of research, including gene, stem cell and drug therapies.
UV blocking sunglasses are generally recommended for outdoors. For people who already have significant vision loss, low vision aides are available.
Through Gia's Eyes
Stargardt's disease is the most common form of inherited juvenile macular degeneration. The progressive vision loss associated with Stargardt's disease is caused by the death of photoreceptor cells in the central portion of the retina called the macula.
The retina is the delicate light-sensing tissue lining the back inside wall of the eye. Photoreceptor cells in the retina provide vision by conveying information from the visual field to the brain. The macula is responsible for sharp central vision — for tasks like reading, watching television, and looking at faces.
Decreased central vision is a hallmark of Stargardt's disease. Side vision is usually preserved. Stargardt's disease typically develops during childhood and adolescence. Also involved in Stargardt's disease is a region beneath the macula called the retinal pigment epithelium.
The progression of symptoms in Stargardt's disease is variable. Visual acuity (the ability to distinguish details and shape) may decrease slowly at first, accelerate, and then level off.
A study of 95 people with Stargardt's disease showed that once a visual acuity of 20/40 is reached, there is often rapid progression of additional vision loss until it reaches 20/200. (Normal vision is 20/20. A person with 20/40 vision sees at 20 feet what someone with normal vision sees at 40 feet.) By age 50, approximately 50 percent of people in the study had visual acuities of 20/200 or worse.