All forms of juvenile macular degeneration share similar characteristics. Because it affects the macula, which allows you to see fine details, juvenile macular degeneration causes problems with your central vision, which may be blurry, distorted or have dark areas. Side vision is usually not affected, but color perception may be affected in the later stages of the disease. Symptoms first appear in childhood or adolescence and may not always affect each eye equally.
Some people with juvenile macular degeneration are able to retain useful vision into adulthood, while for others the disease progresses more rapidly. Patients with Best’s disease often have vision that is nearly normal for many decades. This disease is inherited and often many family members may not be aware that they even have it. By contrast, Stargardt’s disease often results in vision of 20/200, which is the definition of legal blindness.
Juvenile retinoschisis also results in vision loss, ranging from 20/60 to 20/120. About half of people with the disease lose side vision. By age 60 or older, vision loss may reach 20/200. In addition, children with juvenile retinoschisis may also show signs of strabismus (misaligned eyes) and nystagmus (involuntary eye movement).