Genetic mutation affecting the retina
Stargardt's Disease is a genetic disease that affects the retina. Stargardt's causes vision to gradually deteriorate from slightly blurry vision to legally blind vision by the late 20s.
Stargardt's is considered to be caused by a build-up of lipofuscin (fatty substance) in retinal cells. Buildup in the central retina, or macula, resembles beaten bronze. Buildup in the side retina is called fundus flavimaculatus, and causes small white flecks.
Stargardt's disease is believed to be passed along to children when both parents carry gene mutations causing the eye disease. Parents can carry recessive genetic traits responsible for Stargardt's, even though they themselves may not have the disease.
Researchers have found that about five percent of the human population carry gene mutations causing inherited retinal diseases such as Stargardt’s.
Symptoms tend to arise between the ages of 8 and 14. Boys and girls are equally susceptible.
- Blurry or distorted vision
- Inability to see in low lighting
- Difficulty recognizing familiar faces
Currently, there is no treatment for Stargardt's disease.