Stargardt disease was discovered in 1909 and is the most common form of inherited Juvenile Macular degeneration. The disease affects retina, causing progressive loss of vision up to legal blindness, starting between the ages of 6 to 12.
Other names of Stargardt Disease
Stargardts disease is also named as:
- Stargardt macular degeneration
- Fundus Flavimaculatus
- Juvenile macular degeneration
- Macular dystrophy with flecks (type 1)
Signs and Symptoms of Stargardt disease
Signs and Symptoms of Stargardt disease usually develop by the age 12 and include:
- Loss of visual acuity ranging from 20/50 to 20/200
- Sensitivity to glare
- Loss of central vision with intact peripheral vision (especially when macula is damaged)
- Wavy vision
- Blind spots
- Blurring of vision
- Impaired color vision
- Difficultly in adapting to dim light environment
- Problems with night vision (in patients with macular degeneration)
Symptoms of Stargardt’s disease usually develop before 20 years of age.
Treatment of Stargardt’s disease
There is no cure to for stargardt’s disease. However early detection and proper management can slow the progress of the disease. Life style modifications and various glasses can help the patients in leading a near normal life.
There are certain treatment options being researched including gene therapy and using stem cells. However, until they’re widely available, current treatment options include:
If you or your child is diagnosed with Stargardt’s disease, first thing to do is to calm down and consult your eye care specialist for an expert opinion.
Marla Runyan, a US Olympian was a Stargardt’s patient and was the first legally blind athlete to compete in Olympics.
Protect eyes from Sunlight
Ultraviolet rays and direct light is considered to aggravate the disease condition. Therefore sunglasses to protect the eyes and retina from the damage of direct sunlight and ultraviolet rays are helpful in slowing down the progress of the disease.
You should also use caps and hats when outdoor to prevent sunlight from directly entering your eyes.
Glasses for Stargardt’s Disease
Special glasses for patients suffering from Stargardt’s Disease can help them in seeing better and perform routine tasks effectively. As they provide vision to the low vision patient via magnifying the image being seen, they’re called low vision magnification glasses.
Low vision magnification eye glasses for Stargardt’s Disease may use Prismatic lenses to modify the path of light rays passing through the lens, Telescopes that magnify and enlarge images for distance vision, and Microscopes that magnify and enlarge images for reading and near vision. With these low vision glasses vision is not only clearer, but magnified and more understandable for the patient.
Customized Optical Systems –Hands Free Glasses
Special customized eyeglasses utilizing telescope and microscope lenses. These glasses are designed with the proper magnification and prescription for each individual and their specific needs.
Prism based eyeglasses- Hands Free Glasses
Eyeglasses with a prism based lens are helpful in reducing the blind spot in vision and improving the vision.
Magnifiers- Handheld and Stand Magfinfiers
Special magnifiers are available for patients with macular damage due to stargardts or other diseases that help them read and see things that are not visible with diseased eyes.
House and life style changes
House and life style changes include:
- Using simple arrangements of furniture and things in the home
- Using high contrast for stairs steps, doors, windows, switches
- Using large screen TV or monitors
If you or your child is experiencing any visual disturbances, don’t take chance and risk of wait and watch and immediately consult your eye care specialists to diagnose and understand Stargardt’s Disease.
With new research and technology people with Stargardt’s Disease can continue enjoying life. With our Customized Optical Systems, patients suffering from Stargardt’s Disease are able to drive, read the newspaper, watch TV, see their loved ones and continue with quality of life.
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