Sometimes eye disease is the result of external environmental factors, while other times people are quite literally born with them. There are hundreds of eye conditions with known genetic links. With that in mind, it is worthwhile for patients to know their family history of eye disease so they can be aware of what they are at risk for. In this blog, the expert doctors at Laser Eye Center of Miami share some of the most common hereditary eye conditions.
While there are many types of glaucoma, researchers believe that the most common variety, primary open-angle glaucoma, is hereditary. A person with a close family member who has glaucoma is four to nine times more likely to develop glaucoma as well. There are 4 million Americans who suffer from open-angle glaucoma. Over time, the pressure in the eye becomes so strong that it damages the optic nerve. Vision loss from glaucoma is generally irreversible.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
While its name may suggest that age is responsible for AMD, there is undoubtedly a genetic factor that plays a role for many patients. People are up to four times more likely to have AMD if either a parent or sibling has the condition. AMD is one of the leading causes of vision loss in people over 50. There is no cure for AMD currently, but doctors can treat it to keep you seeing as well as possible despite the condition.
About 250 million people worldwide are affected by color blindness, which usually makes it difficult for a patient to distinguish between shades of red and green. In almost all cases, color blindness is inherited from one’s parents. Because color blindness is passed along in the X chromosome, men are much more likely to have this condition than women.
Retinitis pigmentosa is a term that applies to a group of retinal conditions that cause a person to gradually lose his or her sight. These conditions are largely inherited, with more than 50 genes known to be responsible for causing retinitis pigmentosa. More than 100,000 Americans deal with these genetic disorders: over time, they typically lose their central and night vision, making it much more difficult to read and drive.
Speak to a Doctor at Laser Eye Center of Miami
Knowing your own family’s history may help you to be vigilant over your eye health, but it should not replace the need for regular, comprehensive eye examinations. Our doctors have successfully treated countless glaucoma patients, so if you need help preserving or improving your eyesight, please schedule an appointment by calling (305) 443-4733.