Juvenile Macular Degeneration
An IALVS eye doctor can help with vision loss
Juvenile macular degeneration refers to a series of genetic eye disorders that can affect children and young adults. Although juvenile macular degeneration also involves a deterioration of the eye’s macula, it is not the same condition as age-related macular degeneration.
Stargardt disease is the most common type of juvenile macular degeneration. Other forms include Best’s disease and juvenile retinoschisis. All of these disorders are rare, and all of them lead to central vision loss. Unfortunately, there is no cure for juvenile macular degeneration and no therapy to slow the development of the disease or prevent vision loss.
If you or your child have any type of juvenile macular degeneration, our IALVS eye doctors will perform a thorough eye exam to evaluate the extent of your remaining vision. Based on the results, we will recommend the most helpful low vision rehabilitation strategies and low vision aids to maximize your visual independence and enhance your quality of life.
How can low vision aids help with juvenile macular degeneration?
Macular degeneration is a breakdown of the macula, which is the central part of your retina. The macula is responsible for giving you a clear central field of view, allowing you to see details in focus. Without sharp central vision, actions such as reading a smartphone, playing sports, telling time, reading fine text or seeing a street sign can all be difficult. For everyone – and kids in particular – the frustration of not being able to do these actions can quickly lead to depression.
Your IALVS eye doctor is knowledgeable and experienced in using a wide range of advanced low vision aids. During your initial consultation, we will assess your eyesight and get to know you – your lifestyle preferences and activities that you want to do. Then, we will personalize our recommendations for the most useful low vision aids to help you:
- Use your smartphone with ease
- Read the newspaper
- Work on fine, detailed crafts or create artwork
- See street signs clearly as you drive
Low vision aids that may help with vision loss from juvenile macular degeneration include:
- Telemicroscopic eyeglasses for near tasks, such as reading a smartphone
- Magnifiers, in mounted and hand-held versions
- Bioptic telescope glasses to improve distance vision, such as reading street signs
- CCTV magnifiers and other electronic devices to enlarge text
- Computerized software that converts typed text to voice and responds to voice commands
- Custom light fixtures to minimize falls and enhance safety
Is it possible to drive with juvenile macular degeneration?
In particular, teens and young adults with juvenile macular degeneration may be concerned about whether or not they can drive safely. Our IALVS eye doctors can help! We are knowledgeable about a variety of customized low vision optics to sharpen distance vision, magnifying road signs and traffic lights.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of juvenile macular degeneration usually make their first appearance in childhood or adolescence, and they may not occur equally in each eye. Because all forms of juvenile macular degeneration affect the macula, these diseases all cause problems with central vision. Your center field of view may have dark spots or appear blurry and distorted. Color perception may also be compromised as the disease progresses.
People with Best’s disease may have normal vision for many years. In contrast, people with Stargardt’s disease often become legally blind, with vision of 20/200. Generally, juvenile retinoschisis also leads to serious vision loss, including the loss of side vision. Also, conditions such as strabismus (misaligned eyes) and nystagmus (involuntary eye movement) may appear in kids with juvenile retinoschisis.
Who is at risk for juvenile macular degeneration?
This disorder is inherited, passed from parent to child, and the inheritance pattern of each type of juvenile macular degeneration is different.
How can an IALVS eye doctor help with juvenile macular degeneration?
The conditions of juvenile macular degeneration can cause extreme vision loss during childhood, adolescence, and/or adulthood. No matter when the damage to vision begins, reduced eyesight can lead to a state of depression and feelings of hopelessness. However, it doesn’t need to be that way! Our IALVS eye doctors are specially trained in the latest optics and low vision technologies to take advantage of an individual’s remaining eyesight. We will match you to the most effective personalized low vision aids to enable you to enjoy life and do the activities you want to do.