Stargardt disease

Stargardt disease


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Stargardt disease, or fundus flavimaculatus, has been vastly reported as an autosomal recessive genetic form of juvenile macular degeneration that causes progressive vision loss, although several dominant pedigrees have been reported. It is the most common inherited juvenile macular degeneration. [ Stargardt Disease] ]


Those with Stargardt disease are sensitive to glare; overcast days offer little relief. As the disease progresses, it can cause pain and diminishing sight. Vision is impaired first at the center, leaving peripheral vision intact. Symptoms usually appear before age 20. Symptoms include wavy vision, blind spots, blurriness, and difficulty adapting to dim lighting.

Some patients are able to drive. Many patients use magnifiers to help them see, and wear sunglasses to slow the development. [ [ Stargardt's Disease: Information for Patients and Their Families] ] Some doctors have recommended colored lenses that filter out wavelengths shorter than 600 nm; the light wavelengths that stimulate rod vision. [ [ Stargardt's Patients Need Special Light Protection] ]


The disease was discovered in 1909 by Karl Stargardt, an ophthalmologist in Berlin. [WhoNamedIt|synd|2306] [K. B. Stargardt. Über familiäre, progressive Degeneration in der Makulagegend des Auges. Albrecht von Graefes Archiv für Ophthalmologie, 1909, 71: 534-550.]

In 1997, it was discovered that mutations in the Gene|ABCA4 gene cause Stargardt. The mutations cause the production of a dysfunctional protein that cannot perform energy transport to and from photoreceptor cells in the retina. The photoreceptor cells then degenerate, causing vision loss.

Notable cases

George W. Bush, in June 2006, teased a reporter named Peter Wallsten who was wearing sunglasses due to Stargardt. The reporter later explained that the President had no way of knowing, and that he was not offended. [ [ After Sunglasses Gaffe, Bush Apologizes to Legally Blind Reporter] ]

Another notable case is US distance runner Marla Runyan, who, in 2000, became the first legally blind athlete to make the US Olympic team. Runyan, who had previously won seven Paralympic medals, finished eighth in the 1,500 meter finals, the top finish by an American.

Also, in September 2008, at the Beijing Paralmpics games, Jason Smyth, representing Ireland, won 2 Gold medals, in the 100m and 200m, with paralmypic world record times.


External links

* [ Stargardt Disease] - complete description with links to further information
* [ Rare Disorders: Stargardt's Disease] - a very comprehensive article
* [ Stargardt's Disease] - from the American Macular Degeneration Foundation
* [ Understanding Stargardt's]
* [ Stargardt's Disease] - from TheRetinaSource

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