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Genetics and Eye Health

Eye Health and Genetics

Have you ever wondered about your family’s vision history
and how it might impact you or your children? Have you ever been curious about
the likelihood of your age-related eye problems developing in your grandchildren
when they become your age?

Genetics play a large role in the health of our bodies—our
eyes are no exception. But, genetics aside, there are also environmental
factors that influence our eye health.

Eye Problems Linked to Genes

Studies have shown that nearsightedness and
have a strong genetic component. In fact, if both
parents are nearsighted or farsighted, there’s a substantial likelihood that
their children will be as well.

Color blindness (“color vision deficiency”) is also
heavily dependent on genetics. This condition is defined by the difference in
how the retina’s light-sensitive cells respond to certain colors.   

Eye Problems Influenced by Genes

Most eye problems have multiple cause factors. Genetics may
be a factor, but oftentimes there are environmental factors that are also a
major component.

For instance, glaucoma may be
influenced by genes but also can be caused by other factors such as diabetes,
previous eye injury, hypertension, or use of corticosteroids. 

macular degeneration (AMD)
is another eye problem that may be caused by
a mix of genetic factors as well as environmental influences such as smoking,
vitamin D deficiency, advanced age, and diabetes or high blood pressure.

Don’t forget: the best way to stay ahead of vision problems
is to keep up with your annual comprehensive
eye exams