How Stargardt Disease Cause Low Vision and How We Can Help
Does your child or teenager complain of blurry vision? Have they mentioned dark spots when they look at a computer screen or when reading a book? Maybe they’re having trouble seeing colors or it’s hard for them to recognize familiar faces? If this sounds familiar, your child could have a condition called Stargardt Disease.
What Is Stargardt Disease?
Stargardt Disease is an inherited form of Macular Degeneration. In fact, it’s often referred to as Juvenile Macular Degeneration. It is a congenital disease affecting children and adolescents, often beginning in kids between 6-12 years old, although it’s usually present at birth.
Stargardt causes gradual vision loss. Over time, it can deteriorate to the point of legal blindness. Our young patients struggle with central vision, distinguishing colors, reading comprehension, and seeing clearly in environments that have dim lighting.
What Causes Stargardt Disease?
Like Macular Degeneration, patients with Stargardt have a damaged macula. Since the macula is responsible for passing light that enters your eye onto the retina, when the macula is impaired, a patient’s vision becomes impaired, too.
Stargardt Disease is inherited genetically, so if both parents have Macular Degeneration, it’s possible that their child will have it, too. According to Dr. Paul Woolf, patients with a family history of Macular Degeneration should getting checked as soon as possible. Early detection is essential for the most effective treatment.
Treatment for Stargardt Disease
Unfortunately, there is no treatment for Stargardt Disease. However, low vision glasses and devices have shown success in helping patients with the condition experience improved visual clarity. Handheld magnifiers and telescopic lenses can enlarge images or objects, allowing you to see what you’re looking at in more detail. Some low vision devices are small enough to fit on top of glasses, especially helpful for driving lessons, computer work, or using a smartphone.
Handheld devices can magnify words, so your child can have an easier time reading, writing, or studying.
How Does Stargardt Disease Cause Low Vision?
A damaged macula disrupts healthy vision by interrupting the flow of light passing through the eye to the brain. When this happens, the brain cannot understand what the eyes see. Stargardt results in a loss of central vision with symptoms like blurry or wavy vision, blind spots, sensitivity to light, and difficulty seeing colors and contrast. The condition causes a rapid reduction in visual acuity before leveling off.
Any loss of vision can be difficult to experience, but for kids and young adults, it can feel emotionally devastating. We understand what your child is going through, and we’ll give them the tools they need to maximize their vision, so they can get back to enjoying life.
How We Can Help with Stargardt Disease
Stargardt Disease can make it difficult for children to do homework, play sports, get their license and more. At the Low Vision of Arizona, our goal is to help your child succeed in school, extracurricular activities, and in life.
Come see Dr. Paul Woolf, who, by providing low vision aids, devices or glasses, can help enhance your child’s vision so that they can focus on learning and doing the things they love.
When Does Stargardt Disease Start?
In many cases, Stargardt Disease makes itself known in early childhood. In others, it may present itself later in the 20s of young adulthood. Whenever your child shows symptoms and however it affects them, we can help.
A Better Quality of Life for Your Child
Contact Dr. Paul Woolf. Together with the knowledgeable, caring staff at the Low Vision of Arizona, we’ll help your child experience improved vision and a better quality of life.