What Is Stargardt Disease?

Stargardt disease is a vision loss condition that affects children and young adults. Juvenile macular dystrophy is another name for the inherited disorder called Stargardt disease. Photoreceptors, which are light-sensing cells in the macula, die in persons with Stargardt disease.

Signs and Symptoms

what is stargardt disease

Children, teenagers, and young adults are the most common victims of Stargardt illness. An issue with one’s center vision may be the first symptom. It could be hazy, distorted, or have black patches. Some people may also have difficulty seeing colors.

When moving between bright and dark locations, vision may also take longer than usual to adjust. However, while central vision will be gone, many patients with Stargardt illness will be able to maintain decent side vision for the remainder of their lives.

Who is at risk?

what is stargardt disease

Stargardt illness is usually passed down from one generation to the next. To exhibit symptoms with the classic Stargardt disease, defective genes (the ABCA4 gene) must be passed down from both parents. Therefore, a person who inherits the gene from only one parent is a carrier for Stargardt illness but does not develop symptoms. Other kinds of Stargardt illness require only one parent’s gene to manifest symptoms, but these are extremely rare.

Diagnosis

what is stargardt disease

To examine your retina, an ophthalmologist will dilate your pupils. Lipofuscin, a yellowish fleck, is found in and under the macula of people with Stargardt illness. These specks can sometimes form a ring that extends outward.

Fluorescein angiography is a test that may be utilized. A dye is injected into your arm during this exam. Then, the dye is imaged as it travels through the blood vessels of the retina. The photographs show a black region within retinal tissue in persons with Stargardt illness.

Genetic testing can now be used to determine the type of macular degeneration that a patient has. This is the most reliable method of determining the genetic cause of your ailment.

Treatment

what is stargardt disease

Stargardt illness is currently incurable and has no therapeutic options. However, various gene therapy and pharmacological therapy experiments are in the making.

Sunglasses may help with Stargardt disease’s sensitivity to strong light. Sunglasses can also protect the retina from further sun damage to the eye caused by the harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.

Smoking is not recommended for those with Stargardt illness, nor should they be exposed to cigarette smoke. Furthermore, some research suggests that consuming too much vitamin A may aggravate the condition. Therefore, while vitamin A in foods is fine, excessive dosages of it as a supplement should be avoided.

People who are adjusting to vision loss can benefit from a variety of resources. Special equipment, practical ideas for daily living, and training to assist you in getting around are examples of these. Request assistance from your ophthalmologist in locating low vision resources.

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