Central areolar choroidal dystrophy (CACD) is a genetic condition which affects vision or the ability to see. It is a type of macular diseases (dystrophies) of the eye. The macula is the region near the center of the retina and is responsible for detailed central vision. CACD is marked by the breakdown of the retina and choroid. The retina is the light sensitive layer of the inner eye which acts like film in a camera and then sends signals to the visual parts of the brain to form the image we see. The choroid is the inner layer of the eye that contains many capillaries (blood vessels) as well as the dark pigment melanin. The blood vessels help carry oxygen and nutrients to the retina, including the macula and other parts of the eye. Melanin helps stop uncontrolled reflection in the eye. The degeneration of the retina and choroid result in progressive vision loss and in severe cases, legal blindness. This condition most often affects adults age 30-60.
This condition can be inherited in either an autosomal dominant or recessive pattern. Because the symptoms largely surround vision loss, if you are experiencing changes in color perception or overall decline in the quality of sight, consult your doctor. Treatment options include vision aids which differ based on the severity of your condition. It is important to consult your doctor to diagnose and monitor the condition as well as to discuss the most current treatment options. Talking with a genetic counselor will help you understand how this condition may run in your family. Additionally, there are support groups specifically for people with central areolar choroidal dystrophy in the event you want to reach out to others in a similar situation.