Learn About Stargardt Macular Degeneration

What is the definition of Stargardt Macular Degeneration?

Stargardt macular degeneration is a genetic eye disorder that causes progressive vision loss. This disorder affects the retina, the specialized light-sensitive tissue that lines the back of the eye. Specifically, Stargardt macular degeneration affects a small area near the center of the retina called the macula. The macula is responsible for sharp central vision, which is needed for detailed tasks such as reading, driving, and recognizing faces. In most people with Stargardt macular degeneration, a fatty yellow pigment (lipofuscin) builds up in cells underlying the macula. Over time, the abnormal accumulation of this substance can damage cells that are critical for clear central vision. In addition to central vision loss, people with Stargardt macular degeneration have problems with night vision that can make it difficult to navigate in low light. Some affected individuals also have impaired color vision. The signs and symptoms of Stargardt macular degeneration typically appear in late childhood to early adulthood and worsen over time.

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What are the causes of Stargardt Macular Degeneration?

In most cases, Stargardt macular degeneration is caused by mutations in the ABCA4 gene. Less often, mutations in the ELOVL4 gene cause this condition. The ABCA4 and ELOVL4 genes provide instructions for making proteins that are found in light-sensing (photoreceptor) cells in the retina.

How prevalent is Stargardt Macular Degeneration?

Stargardt macular degeneration is the most common form of juvenile macular degeneration, the signs and symptoms of which begin in childhood. The estimated prevalence of Stargardt macular degeneration is 1 in 8,000 to 10,000 individuals.

Is Stargardt Macular Degeneration an inherited disorder?

Stargardt macular degeneration can have different inheritance patterns.

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Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date: November 01, 2010Published By: National Institutes of Health

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