Stargardt’s disease is hereditary and is described as the most common type of juvenile macular degeneration (named after the German ophthalmologist Karl Stargardt, who first reported the disease in 1901).
Stargardt’s disease develops between the ages of 6 and 20 years and is characterized by loss of central vision, while peripheral vision is usually preserved.
Symptoms of the disease include blurred and distorted vision, inability of patients to read or recognize familiar faces, difficulty seeing in low light and discerning colors.
The decrease in vision is progressive, but once visual acuity falls below 5/10 it tends to decrease rapidly and stabilizes at 1/10 due to atrophic macular alteration.
Prolonged and without proper protection exposure to the sun is able to accelerate the progression of the disease. It is necessary to use special glasses-protective filters that increase the contrasts of colors and filter out harmful radiation.
Stargardt’s disease is effectively treated and its progression is slowed down with low vision aids. Special low vision glasses completely customized for each case, inhibit the destruction of the cones affected by the disease. Their systematic use – according to the instructions of the Optometrist specialized in low vision – gradually increases vision significantly.
The earlier the diagnosis of the disease is made, the safer and more efficiently the remaining vision is trained.