Stargardt’s Disease

Stargardt’s disease is an eye disease that occurs in children or juvenile aged people. It is usually inherited from the parents to the offspring and causes loss of vision such that after a point of time the person is liable to become completely blind. Stargardt’s disease starts in children between the age of six and twelve and progresses as the eyes age, reducing visual activity and making it very hard for such little children if they have this eye disease.

Stargardt’s disease was discovered by Karl Stargardt in 1909. Karl was an ophthalmologist in Berlin and he found out how genes cause the eye disease.  Stargardt’s disease is bracketed together with different types of genes, namely, STGD1 which is the most common found type of this disease. The others are known as STGD4 and STGD3. It is a common form of juvenile macular degeneration.

Those unfortunate to have this disease have very sensitive vision and cannot spend prolonged hours in front of screens with too much light. They are also very sensitive to sunlight and that is why they find relief living in areas where there is very less sunlight and the weather is mostly overcast with clouds or raining all the time.

What happens in this eye disease is that the entire vision of the person gets impaired because the centre point of the retina in the eyes, or the main part from which the eye focuses, gets damaged. The symptoms of this disease start to show in people much before the age of even twenty years old, which is a very young age to have something as serious as this.

Some of the main symptoms of this disease that are noticeable early are blurriness, wavy vision, not being able to adjust in dim and heavy lighting easily. The person may not also be able to see color properly.

Despite having this Stargardt’s disease, many people who suffer from it are able to drive with a little help. They use magnifiers to help them see, which are basically mirrors attached for the rear, front or side views in order to magnify the images on the road and help them visualize turns and bends on the road as well as people and cars.

They also may wear sunglasses in addition to using the magnifiers on their cars because the shades help them to ward off excessive sunlight during the day. Other options are tinting their side screens in order to have the least amount of sunlight in their way so that they feel comfortable.

Many doctors say that this disease can be cured by using coloured lenses that have wavelengths shorter than 600 nm. However, there is not really any clinical operation that can be done to cure this disease because it progresses very slowly and might not even be detected in the earlier stages because it can be passed off as bad vision in children, or kids having headaches because of reading too much or using too much of the television, playing on the computer etc.