Stargardt disease is the most common form of juvenile macular degeneration and it affects 1 out of every 8 to 10 thousand people. It is an inherited disorder of the retina- the tissue at the back of the eye that senses light. Typically the disease causes vision loss during childhood or adolescence which slowly progresses (worsens) over time. People with Stargardt disease rarely become completely blind but this cruel disease steals the central vision that is used for reading, watching television and seeing faces. By the age of 20 most people with Stargardt disease are visually disabled, making activities of daily living challenging at best.
Currently there is no cure for Stargardt disease, and that brings us to our point. The majority of our patients who suffer with Stargardt have been told that nothing more can be done to enhance their vision. We don’t believe that. In fact, our success in enhancing patients’ vision with innovative medical devices is proof positive that there are options to living a life restricted by low vision.
We focus on enhancing sight to meet the Top Five patient vision goals:
1. To see faces clearly
2. To be able to drive
3. To participate in favorite hobbies and crafts
5. Watching television
The first step is a highly specialized low vision exam. Over the course of one to two hours (actual time with the doctor) our physicians conduct a comprehensive low vision exam that creates a thorough and detailed road-map of your sight. That map is used to determine which innovative medical devices will best enhance your sight for your specific daily activities. It can be a powerful experience. This comprehensive exam is the first time that many of our patients see what enhanced vision is like.
Among the tools we use to enhance low vision caused by Stargardt Disease are E-Scoop® glasses that improve vision significantly by shifting the image to a different part of the macular. The E-Scoop® lens is comprised of five intricate optical characteristics:
• A custom yellow tint
• Anti-reflective coating
• Special lens thickness
• Specific base curve
• Base up prism.
When these five optical properties are combined into the E-Scoop lens, the image is enhanced and shifted to a different part of the macula allowing the patient to see well.
We also offer microscopic eyeglasses, telescopic eyeglasses, NuEyes with ODG Smartglasses, and other devices and treatments to enhance low vision caused by a variety of diseases.
If you or a loved one suffer from Stargardt disease we want you to know that options are available to enhance your vision so that you can once again participate in the daily activities that you love. New medical devices specifically designed for low vision are being developed regularly by scientists and we make it our business to make them available to you.
Stargardt disease may steal central vision but it doesn’t have to steal your ability to live life too.