Stargardt disease is a type of macular degeneration where a progressive loss of vision is experienced by the patient. The disease was discovered in the year 1909. The loss of central vision is experienced with both the eyes but there is no loss in peripheral vision. The progression is experienced from 6 years to 12 years. Decreased central vision is observed in this condition and the side vision is still active. This condition occurs in childhood phase or adulthood. This is an inherited disease and if both the parents carry this disorder, it will be passed to the next gene.
The photoreceptor cells which exist in the central portion of the retina dies and these cells produce the vision known as the macula. This disease is passed to the children as this is a genetic problem. The ABCR gene produces a protein and the mutations in the genes causes this condition. The dysfunctional protein which is unable to perform the transport function results in the condition.
The yellowish flecks are observed under the macula. The flecks extend in a ring like fashion. It is not easy to perceive the color as well. The progression of the symptoms may vary as well. The symptoms of the Stargardt disease Include the following :
Ability to perceive the colors is diminished
Central blind spot
Central vision becomes progressively worse
From bright light to a dimmer room, it becomes difficult for the eye to adjust Night blindness
The disease is diagnosed under the age of 20 years. When they first experience loss of the central vision. The retina of the individual suffering from this disease will show yellow flecks or spots developing in irregular shapes which the macular lesion. The retina in the beginning may appear normal but as the condition progresses, it becomes worse. Visual acuity tests and color testing is also performed. For assessing the vision Amsler grid test is also done.
There is unfortunately no cure for this disease and sometimes the laser treatment recommended by the doctor is beneficial but it will not help in restoring the vision or the progression of this condition cannot be halted at all. Contact lenses or prescriptive eyeglasses cannot resolve the problem as well. The visual activity of a person is 20/200 in this case. The underlying biochemical reactions are still being studied in this condition. Low vision aids or mobility training can be helpful to some extent.
As this condition is inherited, nothing can be done to reduce the risk but it is shown in recent research that if a person is exposed to light for a long time or the eyes are unprotected while going in light, then the condition may become worse at a high speed.
The disease requires long term prognosis which is available and doesn’t affect the general health of a patient. Some people can also drive in this condition.