The growth rate of lesions found by fundus autofluorescence (FAF) may be a good outcome measure for future treatment trials in patients with Stargardt disease, a study in JAMA Ophthalmology reports.

An international research team looked at the progression rate of atrophic lesions in Stargardt disease, also known as fundus flavimaculatus, in this multi-center 12-month investigation. The study was set in nine tertiary referral centers from 2013 to 2017 and enrolled 259 patients who were affected by Stargardt. The subjects were six years or older and had the disease-causing variants of the ABCA4 gene.

Investigators noted definitely decreased autofluorescence was present in 306 eyes, and the mean lesion size was 3.93mm2. Researchers also measured the mean total area of decreased FAF at baseline, which was 4.07mm2.

The study found the mean progression of definitely decreased autofluorescence lesions was 0.76mm2 per year, and the mean progression of the area of total decreased FAF was 0.64mm2 per year. Rates of progression depended on initial lesion size, the researchers noted.

Strauss RW, Kong X, Ho A, et al. Progression of Stargardt disease as determined by fundus autofluorescence over a 12-month period: ProgStar Report No. 11. JAMA Ophthalmol. August 1, 2019. [Epub ahead of print].