Stargardt Disease

Image of an optometrist using an eye examination machine.

Loss of eyesight and macular degeneration are typically associated with aging. Stargardt disease, however, an inherited form of macular degeneration, commonly affects children and young adults. Also referred to as Stargardt macular dystrophy (SMD) or flavimaculatus, the term Stargardt disease refers in particular to the form of inherited macular degeneration which affects individuals at a young age.

Cause

The death of photoreceptor cells located in the center of the retina (back of the eye) causes Stargardt disease. The photoreceptor cells of the macula, the center of the retina where light comes to a sharp point, are responsible for central vision. Central vision is used for activities like facial recognition, reading, watching television, and driving. Stargardt disease does not typically affect peripheral vision or motion-detecting vision.

Symptoms

A progressive loss of central vision is the primary symptom of Stargardt disease, in addition to difficulty seeing in low light and the eventual loss of color vision at late stages of the disease. The visual acuity of sufferers can deteriorate to vision as bad as 20/40 to 20/400.

Risk Factors

An inherited condition, Stargardt disease is passed on to a child via two parents carrying the recessive gene, where each parent has a recessive Stargardt gene paired with a normal gene. Children of two carriers have a 25 percent chance of inheriting two Stargardt genes linked together, and therefore inheriting the disease.

Research has identified the recessive gene associated with Stargardt disease, ABCA4, and individuals can be tested to find out if they are carriers. Couples who are both carriers of the Stargardt disease recessive gene can seek genetic counseling prior to having children to learn about the risks associated with the disease.

Diagnosis and Treatment

An eye care professional uses a slit lamp to diagnose Stargardt disease by observing the presence of yellow deposits of lipofuscin (a type of fat), which accumulate abnormally, and the presence of vitamin A dimers (clumps) in the retina.

Exposure to UV light has been shown to accelerate the disease's progress. Anyone diagnosed with Stargardt disease should always wear sunglasses with 100% UV protection.

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule

Monday:

8:00 am-5:30 pm

Tuesday:

8:00 am-5:30 pm

Wednesday:

8:00 am-5:30 pm

Thursday:

8:00 am-5:30 pm

Friday:

8:00 am-5:30 pm

Saturday:

Closed

Sunday:

Closed

Location

Find us on the map

Testimonials

Reviews From Our Satisfied Patients

  • "Testimonials coming soon..."
    Dr. Stephen H. Means & Associates Ocular Diagnostics & Therapeutics

Featured Articles

Read up on informative topics

  • Age-Related Macular Degeneration

    One of the leading causes of vision loss in people who are age 50 or older is age-related macular degeneration (AMD). This common eye condition leads to damage of a small spot near the center of the retina called the macula. The macula provides us with the ability to clearly see objects that are straight ...

    Read More
  • Diabetic Eye Diseases

    Diabetes is a condition that involves high blood sugar (glucose) levels. This can affect many parts of the body, including the eyes. One of the most common diabetic eye diseases is diabetic retinopathy, which is also a leading cause of blindness in American adults. Diabetic Retinopathy Diabetic retinopathy ...

    Read More
  • Presbyopia

    Somewhere around the age of 40, most people’s eyes lose the ability to focus on close-up objects. This condition is called presbyopia. You may start holding reading material farther away, because it is blurry up close. Reading suddenly gives you eyestrain. You might wonder when manufacturers started ...

    Read More
  • Laser Cataract Surgery

    The only way to correct the clouded vision caused by advanced cataracts is surgical intervention. If you find yourself pursuing cataract surgery to remove one or both cataract-disease lenses, you may be wondering what surgical approaches are available for treatment. Although eye surgeons have successfully ...

    Read More
  • Cataract Surgery

    With cataract surgery, your ophthalmologist removes the cataract-diseased lens of your eye. The ophthalmologist then replaces your natural lens with an artificial one. The Procedure This outpatient procedure is generally safe and takes less than an hour. Your ophthalmologist will dilate your pupil ...

    Read More
  • Fuchs' Corneal Dystrophy

    Fuchs' dystrophy (pronounced fooks DIS-truh-fee) is an eye disease characterized by degenerative changes to the cornea’s innermost layer of cells. The cause for Fuchs' dystrophy is not fully understood. If your mother or father has the disease, then there is roughly a 50 percent chance that you will ...

    Read More
  • Peripheral Vision Loss

    Normal sight includes central vision (the field of view straight ahead) and peripheral vision (the field of view outside the circle of central vision). The inability to see within a normal range of view often indicates peripheral vision loss. In severe cases of peripheral vision loss, individuals only ...

    Read More
  • Presbyopia

    As we age, our eyes—like the rest of our bodies—begin to lose flexibility and strength. When this happens to the lens of the eye and its surrounding muscles, your lens will become stiff. This makes it harder to see close objects clearly because the eyes can't focus properly. It's a natural part of ...

    Read More
  • Patches

    Eye patches are used to strengthen muscle control in weak eyes. By placing a patch over the strong eye, the weaker eye is forced to do the heavy lifting. While it may be uncomfortable for the patient at first, the muscle controlling the weaker eye will become tougher and more resilient. This will allow ...

    Read More
  • How to Transition Into Different Lighted Situations

    Does it take a little while for your eyes to adjust to the dark? Try a few of these tips. ...

    Read More

Newsletter Signup

Sign up for more articles