A Natural Approach To Health
Living With Stargardt Disease
I had a question the other day about Stargardt disease.
Stargardt disease is a form of juvenile macular degeneration.
This rare disease causes central vision loss that begins in childhood or young adulthood.
Unfortunately, there’s no treatment available for this disease, which is caused by gene mutations passed down in families.
Visual aids, adaptive training, and other types of assistance can help young people with vision loss remain active.
Researchers continue to look for ways to prevent and treat juvenile macular degeneration.
Genetic counseling can help families understand this eye disorder and sort out the risks of passing them on to their children.
Counseling also helps families understand how their loved one’s vision is affected.
This disease damages the macula, which is the tissue in the center of your retina at the back of your eye.
The macula provides your sharp, central vision so you can do things like read and drive.
It also allows you to see color and helps you recognize faces.
Stargardt disease is the most common form of juvenile macular degeneration.
It’s named after German ophthalmologist Karl Stargardt, who discovered it in 1901.
Stargardt disease affects about one in 10,000 children in the U.S.
Although the disease starts before age 20, a person may not notice vision loss until age 30 to 40.
It can be diagnosed by yellow-white spots that appear in and around your macula.
These deposits are an abnormal buildup of a fatty substance produced during normal cell activity.
Symptoms include difficulty reading and gray or black spots in your central vision.
Loss of vision occurs gradually at first and affects both eyes.
Once vision reaches 20/40, the disease progresses more rapidly, eventually reaching 20/200, which is legal blindness.
Some people lose vision to 10/200 very quickly over a few months.
Most people will have vision loss ranging from 20/100 to 20/400 by age 30 to 40.
Stargardt disease doesn’t cause a loss of peripheral, or side, vision.
Most people don’t lose night vision, but may have trouble adjusting between dark and light environments.
Color vision is also affected in later stages of the disease.
Researchers have identified a specific gene they believe causes Stargardt disease.
If both parents carry one mutated gene and one normal gene, their children have a 25% chance of developing the disease.
People who inherit only one mutated gene don’t develop the disease.
However, they can pass on the disease without knowing it.
To deal with Stargardt’s disease it’s beneficial to:
*Drink 6-8 cups of purified water daily.
*Increase your intake of essential fats (flax oil, Omega-3 oils, etc.).
*Consider herbs such as Eyebright and Bilberry.
*Use Enfuselle products.
*Try warm compresses (can use moist, warm regular tea bag).
*Have a diet rich in bioflavonoids (berries, colorful veggies, etc.).
*Eliminate toxic cosmetics, eye care, and personal care products.
*Eliminate toxic household and laundry cleaners.
*Eliminate poor air quality, which could be irritating.
*Eliminate chlorinated shower/bath water, which could be irritating.
*Eliminate “hidden” allergies or sensitivities, which may aggravate your eyes.
*Avoid free radical damage; check heavy metal toxicity.
*Eliminate hydrogenated or trans fats, sugar and white flour.
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