Is Good Vision Genetic? How Eye Health Really Works
Ophthalmic and genetic researchers have determined that the most common vision problems in both children and adults may be caused by the genetic inheritance of the individual. In the last 15 years, geneticists have identified approximately 500 unique genes involved in hereditary eye diseases and vision health. This brings us very close to solving the age-old puzzle, is your vision inherited?
Inherited eye-related conditions
Refractive errors, such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism (an irregularly shaped cornea), as well as color blindness and amblyopia (lazy eye), are eye diseases that are most commonly transmitted parents to children. In addition, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration also appear to be influenced by genetic factors. It is estimated that approximately 15 percent of the primary cases of congenital / infant glaucoma are hereditary.
A person is more likely to be farsighted if both parents suffer from farsightedness. Mild and moderate forms of hyperopia, up to 6 diopters, are transmitted in an autosomal dominant manner. In contrast, high hyperopia is transmitted in an autosomal recessive manner. High hyperopia may be associated with other ocular malformations, such as microphthalmos (small and underdeveloped eye), microcornea (small and undeveloped cornea) or cataract (lens opacity). A complete ophthalmological examination is necessary to establish an accurate diagnosis.
While it is true that the development of myopia is also conditioned by genetic factors, its development can also be affected by the way a person uses their eyes. Spending many hours in front of the computer or doing intense visual work could cause you to have a greater risk of developing myopia.
Astigmatism is produced by alterations in the curvature of the cornea, this generates that the rays of light are refracted irregularly in the retina forming a blurred image. Although the corneal curvature is modified by age and by other external factors such as eyelid pressure or intraocular pressure, its variations are minimal and therefore inheritance plays a very important role in this aspect. The corneal curvature is transmitted to subsequent generations not only with respect to dioptric power but also to the position of the main meridians of astigmatism.
Color blindness is a hereditary disease linked to the X chromosome. Although it occurs very rarely in women, epidemiological studies estimate that one in 10 men suffers from some type of condition.
Early detection of eye diseases
It is important that those parents who started wearing glasses at an early age take their children to a complete eye examination at the age of three. Children of a parent with a serious eye disease, such as eye tumors, cataracts or childhood glaucoma, should be seen in childhood by a pediatric ophthalmologist. Early diagnosis is essential to help correct vision problems.
To determine a child’s refractive error, special drops are used to relax the focus and dilate the pupil of the eye. Then, the doctor uses a special machine, or light and hand lenses, to determine the actual refractive status of the eye so that it can determine if a correction is necessary.
It is very useful to identify other members of the family affected by vision problems, in order to identify possible genetic disorders. If you suspect that there is a problem with your vision, eye alignment or appearance, you should schedule a thorough evaluation as soon as possible. Michigan residents can schedule an appointment at The Yaldo Eye Center. The information from previous eye exams, general medical history, and a current exam can help your ophthalmologist to establish a diagnosis and an appropriate treatment plan. In consultation with an ophthalmologist or Lasik specialist, you can determine the cause of the vision problems and select the treatment that best suits your visual and lifestyle needs.
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