Eye Health | Your family heredity matters in your eye health too.
Imagine your life without vision; it’s unimaginable. That’s how important vision is for anyone. No matter how much we take care of our eye health, many eye-related diseases still affect us, as few are hereditary. Hereditary diseases arise due to our ancestors’ weak genes passed on to us. Many diseases can go unnoticed until it’s too late. Just like you talk to your family doctor about your family’s medical history, speak to your Ophthalmologist clearly about any eye-related diseases in your family. Doing so helps them examine your eyes better and suggest proper treatment and guidance for your well-being.
Certain eye diseases affect people belonging to all age groups. They are not that serious, like vision loss but can prevent you from having a 20/20 vision.
Common eye conditions
Some of the common eye conditions due to heredity are:
- Strabismus is the condition where the person has crossed eyes. People suffering from this condition have eyes not pointing in the same direction; the alignment is abnormal. The simple explanation is that our eyes have six muscles that work together to focus both eyes in the same direction. But, when these muscles fail to act together, it results in a Strabismus condition. Due to this, the brain gets different images from each eye and gets confused. The brain learns to ignore images from the weaker eye and only accepts data from the other eye. If this condition is left unnoticed, this results in Amblyopia.
- Amblyopia is known as lazy eye syndrome. Amblyopia occurs mainly in childhood or infancy. In this condition, the brain favours the data from one eye over the other, resulting in vision loss for that eye. As mentioned above, Amblyopia can occur due to Strabismus, or Strabismus can occur due to an existing Amblyopia condition.
- Myopia is near-sightedness or short-sightedness, where a person can see objects near them but struggle to see things far from them.
- Hyperopia is commonly known as far-sightedness, where a person can see objects far from them but struggle to see things near them. Using spectacles with the correct prescription can treat the condition of both Myopia and Hyperopia. Procedures like LASIK are opted to correct the vision and eliminate the usage of spectacles.
- Astigmatism is the result of irregular curvature of the cornea. Due to this irregularity in shape, a refractive error occurs where the patient struggles to focus on light. Due to this condition, distortion in the image emerges, making it difficult to focus clearly.
The conditions mentioned above are common and can occur to anyone for different reasons.
Serious eye diseases
Other serious eye-related issues are:
- Age-Related Macular Degeneration, shortly known as AMD, results from damage to the Macula, part of the Retina responsible for creating sharp and clear images. This disease mainly occurs in old-age people. The primary reason for AMD is a genetic disorder of the CFH gene and other complement system genes.
- Glaucoma occurs because the optic nerve connecting your eye to the brain suffers damage. There are different types of Glaucoma where certain types of Glaucoma do not show any symptoms but gradually result in loss of vision. If your family has a history of Glaucoma, you are at significant risk of developing this condition.
- Retinitis Pigmentosa results from the slow breakdown of cells in the retina, causing vision loss. This condition can result in night blindness, loss of peripheral vision(unable to see around you), loss of central vision, and colour-blindness. Retinitis Pigmentosa is rare, and there is no cure for it currently.
Both Glaucoma and Age-Related Macular Degeneration are becoming the common reason for blindness and vision loss worldwide. Most people do not know that so many eye-related diseases are hereditary, and also, these conditions do not show any symptoms, and by the time we get to know about the situation, it will be too late.
Knowing your medical history is essential and should be shared with your Ophthalmologist to receive proper treatment and guidelines for your healthy recovery. This time, do a little research into your family medical history, gather all that data, and show it to your doctor. After going through your medical history, doctors will perform a simple test called a comprehensive dilated eye exam. A particular eye drops solution is applied to your eyes, and after some time, they become enlarged. This procedure makes it easy for your eye-care specialist to examine your eyes, diagnose your condition, and suggest proper treatment. This procedure is completely painless and harmless.
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