Hereditary diseases and conditions can be scary to think about.
Knowing your family’s health history can help you stay informed on the conditions that you may be susceptible to.
The same is true with eye conditions and diseases. There are eye conditions that are passed down through generations.
Knowing your family’s vision health history can help you stay informed on your own eye health, and keep you prepared if you are in danger of contracting a genetic eye disease.
What Eye Diseases Are Hereditary?
The majority of genetic eye conditions are developed in infancy and are usually present for a majority of the affected person’s life.
Diseases like congenital cataracts, congenital glaucoma, and retinal degeneration can cause a baby to be born with significant vision loss.
The clouding of your eye’s lens is known as a cataract. Cataracts are most often associated with elderly patients, but according to the Cleveland Clinic, it is estimated that 1 in every 250 children develop a cataract.
The most effective treatment for cataracts is a relatively painless surgery to remove the clouded lens and replace it with a clear and plastic lens.
Other natural treatments include stronger prescription glasses, magnified bifocals, and adjusting the lighting around you.
Ocular misalignments known as strabismus have a 40% chance of being passed from parent to child, causing the child’s eyes to be crossed and resulting in difficulty seeing clearly.
Treatments for strabismus include:
- Ocular exercises
- Patching of the eye
It is estimated that 13 million, around 4%, of Americans have strabismus.
Glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration are both genetically inherited in the majority of cases.
Glaucoma, which causes damage to the optic nerve by way of increased pressure inside the eyeball, is most noticeable in its early stages by blurry spots and blind spots in peripheral vision.
This disease is most common in adults over the age of 35.
Glaucoma can be treated in a variety of ways, from simple eye drops all the way to laser surgery.
The best way to treat glaucoma is to talk to your doctor about what treatments best suite your specific case.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Macular degeneration is an eye disease that targets the nerve cells inside the retina of the eye that allow us to use sharp, focused vision to do things like drive, read, and see faces.
Macular degeneration is often referred to as AMD, age-related macular degeneration since it is most commonly contracted by patients over the age of 50.
The main cause of the contraction of AMD is genetics.
The most common treatment for AMD is anti-VEGF therapy, in which a chemical is injected into the eye to support the growth of new blood vessels.
What You Can Do To Prevent Hereditary Eye Conditions
Knowing your family’s health history is the best thing you can do to stay healthy.
There’s no way to hide from your genetics, but taking the initiative to research what diseases you may be susceptible to can help you treat those diseases early, and potentially save your vision.
If you are concerned about what eye conditions you may contract from your family tree, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor today.
Being proactive and developing a good dialogue with your eye doctor can be a real lifesaver.