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Stargardt disease

Stargardt disease is a rare genetic eye disease occurring when fatty material accumulates on the macula (the small part of the retina supporting central vision). Vision loss often starts in childhood, but some people with Stargardt disease do not start losing their vision until adulthood.

No treatment is available for people with Stargardt disease. However, vision rehabilitation can help make the most of the remaining vision.

Symptoms of Stargardt disease

The most common Stargardt disease symptom is a slow loss of central vision in the two eyes. Some people also lose their central vision faster than others.

The other symptoms may include:

Some people with this condition may also lose peripheral (side vision).

Causes of Stargardt disease

Stargardt disease often results from changes in a gene known as ABCA4, which affects how the body uses vitamin A.

Our body uses vitamin A to produce cells in the retina (the light-sensitive tissue layer at the back of the eye), and then the ABCA4 gene produces a protein that removes the leftover fatty material. The ABCA4 gene doesn’t work for people with Stargardt disease, so fatty material builds up in the macula. Over time, the fatty material destroys the light-sensitive cells, which affects central vision.

Stargardt disease is inherited, meaning parents can pass it down to their children.

How can my eye doctor diagnose Stargardt disease?

Your eye doctor can check for Stargart disease during a dilated eye exam, which is painless and simple. Your eye doctor will put eye drops to widen your pupils and check for signs of Stargardt disease, like yellowish clumps on the macula.

The eye doctor may perform other tests to diagnose Stargardt disease or monitor your symptoms.

Treatment for Stargardt disease

No treatment is available for Stargardt disease, but you can take some steps to slow vision loss.

Living with low vision or vision loss from Stargardt disease can be challenging, but some things can help, such as rehabilitation programs and low-vision aids.

Our experienced eye doctor at Optimal Vision can perform an eye exam to check if you have Stargardt disease or any eye condition. Visit our clinic or call 020 7183 3725 to book an appointment at Optimal Vision for your eye examination.

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Dr Amir Mani - Specialist refractive surgeon

One of the most experienced refractive surgeons in London

Dr Mani has performed more than 20,000 ophthalmic procedures, including LASIK, LASEK, PRK, Femto Cataract, RLE, Lens ICL and Phakic IOL Surgery

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