Can You Be Spared From a Vision Problem If It Runs in Your Genes?

Eye diseases such as glaucoma are known to be hereditary, so if you have a family history of the disease, you have a reason to believe that you’re at a high risk of developing it as well. This would urge you to take extra precautions to maintain your healthy vision, but can you really stop the disease from striking you one day?

The same can be asked about nearsightedness, or more medically known as myopia. It isn’t actually an eye disease, but rather a refractive error that strikes so many people for reasons that aren’t fully understood yet. But recent research has found that there are 161 genetic factors in myopia, suggesting that individuals with a family history of it are 10 times more likely to develop the condition.

Considering those, the best way to keep our vision in check is through a healthy diet and healthy habits. Let’s go over the common genetic eye conditions that are easily preventable, and your treatment options should you catch one.

Refractive Errors

There are three other refractive errors apart from myopia, and those are farsightedness or hyperopia, astigmatism, and presbyopia. Astigmatism is the blurriness of the vision that results from the cornea being in an irregular shape, causing light to be poorly reflected in the eye. Presbyopia, meanwhile, is also farsightedness but associated with age as it’s caused by the depleted elasticity of the eye.

Myopia is the most common of all refractive errors. It has been predicted that by 2050, over half of the world’s population will be affected by it. Limiting the use of electronics, especially at night, is the easiest way to prevent myopia and all refractive errors. Spending time outdoors will also help because dopamine, a neurotransmitter that the sun helps produce, is theorized to aid in keeping the shape of the eyeballs normal.

As for treatments, prescription glasses or lenses are usually given, but corrective surgery is an option as well. There’s also a treatment introduced just recently, called prescription smart eyeglasses, to which computer technology has been applied. It can be operated via voice command, gestures, and touch. That’s right — there will be a time where we can access our news feeds through our glasses.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is the damage to the optic nerve caused by high pressure in the eyes. It could result in permanent blindness if not treated immediately. Unfortunately, not all cases of glaucoma are preventable, so your best defense against it would be to reduce its severity. Regular exercise, wearing prescription glasses or other protective eyewear, and regular check-ups are highly helpful.

Medicated eye drops, laser treatments, and surgery are used to treat glaucoma. Note, however, that treatments won’t restore the vision that has already been lost from the disease.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration

Female getting her eyes checked

AMD is prevalent among individuals 50 years old and above. It is caused by both genetic and environmental factors, many of which are not yet discovered. While it doesn’t result in total blindness, central vision can be lost, decreasing an infected person’s ability to read, recognize faces, and perform everyday tasks.

AMD can be prevented by quitting cigarettes, avoiding exposure to secondhand smoke, regular exercise, a healthy diet, and maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. There are no outright remedies for it yet, only treatments that may slow its progression.

Taking the right supplements and vitamins may also help prevent many eye diseases, but doctors still recommend a healthy diet as a primary source of nutrients essential to the eyes. You should also visit your ophthalmologist regularly, especially if you’re at a higher risk. Even if there’s a chance that you might not prevent a certain eye condition, you can at least delay its progression and keep its severity under control.

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