Purpose To investigate whether long-term protection from light exposure affects the rate of disease progression in patients with autosomal recessive Stargardt disease (STGD1), measured using fundus autofluorescence imaging. Design Longitudinal, retrospective, interventional case series. Methods Five patients with Stargardt disease protected 1 eye from light exposure by applying a black contact lens during waking hours for ≥12 months. Disease progression was followed by performing autofluorescence imaging at semi-regular intervals. Longitudinal changes in autofluorescence were studied by evaluating areas of decreased autofluorescence and areas of increased autofluorescence as a measure of retinal pigment epithelium damage and lipofuscin accumulation, respectively. Results We observed less progression of decreased autofluorescence in 4 out of 5 light-protected eyes relative to their respective nonprotected eyes. The progression of increased autofluorescence, on the other hand, was highly variable and did not respond consistently to treatment. Conclusions Areas of decreased autofluorescence may serve as a useful biomarker for measuring the progression of Stargardt disease. The reduced progression of decreased autofluorescence in the light-protected eyes suggests that light deprivation might be beneficial in patients with Stargardt disease.

dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajo.2015.02.004, hdl.handle.net/1765/81750
American Journal of Ophthalmology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Teussink, M.M, Lee, M.D, Smith, T, van Huet, R.A.C, Klaver, C.C.W, Klevering, B.J, … Hoyng, C.B. (2015). The effect of light deprivation in patients with Stargardt disease. American Journal of Ophthalmology, 159(5), 964–972. doi:10.1016/j.ajo.2015.02.004