Juvenile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (JNCL) and the eye.
Juvenile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses, or Batten disease, is the most common type of NCL in the United States and Europe. This devastating disorder presents with vision failure and progresses to include seizures, motor dysfunction, and dementia. Death usually occurs in the third decade, but some patients die before age twenty. Though the mechanism of visual failure remains poorly understood, recent advances in molecular genetics have improved diagnostic testing and suggested possible therapeutic strategies. The ophthalmologist plays a crucial role in both early diagnosis and documentation of progression of juvenile neuronal ceroid lipofuscinoses. We update Batten disease research, particularly as it relates to the eye, and present various theories on the pathophysiology of retinal degeneration.