Symptoms and Detection
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What are the symptoms of Stargardt's disease?

Symptoms may include:

  • Bilateral, decreased central vision in childhood or young adulthood.
  • Visual acuity may start at the 20/40 level and later decline to 20/200 or slightly worse.
  • Central scotoma (blind spot in central vision).
  • Abnormal color vision.
  • Photophobia -- an abnormal visual intolerance of light.
  • Night blindness.

How is Stargardt's disease diagnosed?

At the beginning stage of the disease, the retina may appear normal upon routine examination. As the disease progresses, clinical signs of the condition can be viewed with ophthalmoscopy. Your ophthalmologist or retinal specialist may perform additional common diagnostic procedures including visual acuity tests, color vision testing, the Amsler grid test or an automated macular field test to assess vision. Other tests may also be ordered, such as an electrodiagnostic test to examine macular function.

As with macular degeneration patients, fluorescein angiography may be necessary to document the pattern of blood vessels and determine whether dye leaks from the vessels. A doctor can determine which areas of the macula are damaged and whether there are abnormal blood vessels to be treated.