Juvenile macular degeneration

Juvenile macular degeneration is an umbrella term for a series of inherited eye disorders that affect children and young adults.

Juvenile macular degeneration is different from age-related macular degeneration, which occurs as part of the body’s natural aging process. Juvenile macular degeneration is sometimes called macular dystrophy.

Macular degeneration is a deterioration or breakdown of the eye’s macula. The macula is a small area in the centre of the retina and is tightly packed with cone-shaped photoreceptors. The macula is responsible for your central vision, and although it’s only tiny, it is much more sensitive to detail and colour than the rest of the retina (called the peripheral retina). The macula is what allows you to thread a needle, read small print, and read street signs.

The most common form of juvenile macular degeneration is Stargardt disease. Other types of juvenile macular degeneration include Best disease (also called Best’s vitelliform retinal dystrophy), and juvenile retinoschisis.