1517 Texas Avenue South, College Station, TX 77840

Looking Down the Generations: Heredity and Your Vision

May 30, 2024

We all know how big a role our genes play in affecting our health, and that goes for our eyesight, as well. Regular eye exams with the optometrist at Brilliant Eye Care are vitally important for everyone, but they are even more crucial for those whose family history includes a predisposition to certain eye conditions.

Here are a few things to consider when exploring whether heredity may play a role in the health of your eyes:

  • If you have a parent or sibling with glaucoma, the eye disease that damages the optic nerve, you’re at much higher risk of developing this condition, which can potentially lead to vision loss. Glaucoma is nicknamed the “silent thief of sight” because it displays no symptoms early on as it slowly causes irreparable damage. 
  • Age-related macular degeneration (known as AMD) affects the central portion of the retina responsible for sharp vision. AMD is a leading cause of vision loss in adults. A family history of AMD is a significant risk factor, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
  • Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a group of inherited retinal diseases that cause progressive vision loss. In its early stages, RP may present as night blindness and peripheral vision loss. RP is one of the most commonly inherited eye diseases, according to the National Library of Medicine.
  • The inability to distinguish certain colors known as color blindness can be inherited. Color blindness is most commonly passed down through the X chromosome, which is why it affects more males than females.
  • Common refractive conditions that affect how the eye focuses light, like nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism, often run in families. 

Knowing your family history is especially important when it comes to safeguarding your vision. An optometrist is your first line of defense in maintaining healthy eyes. Please contact our optometrist at Brilliant Eye Care if you have any questions or concerns, or to schedule an examination. 

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