Stargardts is a form of inherited juvenile macular dystrophy, that means that my mum was a carrier and so was my dad. The disease is rare because not many people are carriers of Stargardts, so it is very hard to find someone else who is and even then you have just 1 in 4 chance of inheriting it. I was that unlucky 1 in 4. 1 person in every 8,000 to 10,000 people have Stargardts, so it is classed as an orphan disease.
Stargardts affects your central vision. It is your macular that determines how well we see everything in front of us and this is the part that is damaged with this disease. Your central vision is used for everything like recognising faces, readings writing, watching tv, driving etc. When you have Stargardts your eyes can’t filter vitamin A. For a person without Stargardts vitamin A is essential for healthy eyes, but with Stargardts, the damage is created by a build-up of vitamin A on our macular. It creates patches of drusen which is a fatty protein from where the eyes can’t process the vitamin A due to our faulty genes. This drusen eventually causes worsening of vision due to the loss of light-sensing photoreceptor cells in the retina.