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Stargardt’ Disease: symptoms, causes, prevention and treatment

What is Stargardt’ Disease?

Stargardt’s disease treatmentStargardt’ Disease is a condition, during which the macula is affected. Macula is a small part of retina at the back of the eye and is sensitive to light. When person suffers from Stargardt’ Disease, his central vision is deteriorated. It causes problems with detailed direct vision. When you have Stargardt’ macular dystrophy, you do not encounter problems with peripheral vision.

In order to understand the process you should understand how macula works. In macula, which is in the in the very center of retina, the incoming rays of light are concentrated. Here the cone cells are focused. Macula is in charge of :

  • Front vision (one can see what is in front of him);
  • Detailed vision (one requires it during reading, for instance, or writing);
  • Color differentiating.

The other names of Stargardt’ disease: Stargardt macular dystrophy, fundus flavimaculatus.

Who is affected by Stargardt’ Disease?

The disorder is also named a juvenile macular dystrophy because it often occurs when the patient is a teenager. Mainly people between 10-20 years old suffer from it. But it can happen later too.

Symptoms

The patient has the following symptoms that became the hallmark of the condition:

  • Distorted vision
  • Blurred vision
  • Wrong color perception
  • Blank patch in the center (when patient suffers from it for a long time)

The causes of Stargardt’ Disease

Stargardt’ disease is inherited and occurs because of mistakes in the genes. The gene that is charge of the disease has been identified not long ago.

When the person is diagnosed with Stargardt’ Disease that means that he received 2 defective copies of a gene from parents. The parents are the carriers of a faulty gene. When there is only 1 faulty copy, then the second one compensates it, but when both of them are faulty then the child acquires the disease. At this the parents are not diagnosed with disorder. Therefore there can be no history of the disorder in the family.

In case both parents are the carriers of the mutated and the normal gene, the chances are that the offspring will inherit the condition. The chances are estimated 25% in this case. All the rest become the carriers of recessive gene and that means that their children enter the risk group.

How the Stargardt’ Disease is diagnosed

In order to diagnose Stargardt’ disease the following tests are performed:

  1. Electroretinography
  2. Fluorescein angiography
  3. Electro-oculography.

Prevention of Stargardt’ Disease 

In accordance with research of some experts the opinion evolved that being exposed to bright rays can trigger the damage of retina. Some advise to wear glasses that protect the person from UV rays and exclude the possibility of bigger damage.

Treatment using stem cells in UCTC

There is no cure from the Stargardt’ disease. Active research is conducted in stem cell area to help people cope with the problem.

Clinic of Professor Smikodub also works over the stem cell treatment to help patients with Stargardt. Stem cell therapy was designed to regenerate photoreceptors that are located in the retina. Stargardt’ disease damages them and the task of regeneration is set to achieve the success.

The problem is very acute because vision loss affects the person’s life and makes him unable to live normally. With assistance of stem cell therapy in the clinic the condition of the patient can be considerably enhanced. Our patients return to their ordinary routine some time after injections of stem cells. They are thankful for opportunity to return their life back using regenerative medicine!