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Former England and Liverpool striker Michael Owen has recently opened up about his son James’ eye condition which has sadly stopped him playing football.

Stargardt disease is a rare, inherited, genetic eye condition affecting approximately 1 in 9000 people and usually develops before people reach the age of 20. It affects the cells in the retina, the light sensitive layer at the back of the eye, and causes problems with central, detailed and colour vision.

People with Stargardt’s disease may notice:

  • Loss of detailed and colour vision
  • Wavy vision
  • Blind spots
  • Blurriness
  • Difficulty adapting to low light levels

And although they will not lose their peripheral (side) vision, many people will reach the point of severe vision loss.

At the moment, there are no treatments or cure for Stargardt’s disease. There is however research into stem cell therapy which can hopefully be developed to replace the damaged retinal cells. For the time being, wearing UV blocking glasses can help to protect the undamaged cells in the retina.

If you are concerned about your eyes, make an appointment to see your optometrist.

January 31, 2024