Eye Health and Genetics: What You Need to Know

Jul 1, 2023 | Eye Health Info

Weeden Eye Clinic 662-539-7801

Corinth Eye Clinic 662-286-8860

Do you ever wonder why some people have 20/20 vision while others need glasses at an early age? The answer could lie in genetics. Your genes play a vital role in your eye health, and understanding this link can help you take better care of your vision. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at how genetics can impact your eye health, and what you can do to protect your vision. 

The link between genetics and eye health 

Many eye diseases and conditions are hereditary, meaning they can be passed down through families. Some of the most common genetic eye diseases include: 

Family history and eye health 

Your family history can be a valuable tool in understanding your eye health. If your parents or other close relatives have a history of eye disease, you may be at a higher risk for developing these conditions as well. It’s important to share this information with your eye doctor, who can take steps to monitor your eye health more closely. 

Lifestyle factors that affect eye health 

While genetics play a role in eye health, there are also lifestyle factors that can influence your risk of developing eye disease. These include: 

  • Diet: A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids can help protect your vision. 
  • Smoking: Smoking can increase your risk for several eye diseases, including AMD and cataracts
  • Sun exposure: UV radiation can damage your eyes over time, so be sure to wear sunglasses or a wide-brimmed hat when you’re outdoors. 
  • Exercise: Regular exercise can help improve blood flow to the eyes and reduce your risk for certain eye conditions. 

Protecting your vision 

There are several steps you can take to protect your vision, regardless of your genetics or family history. These include: 

  • Getting regular eye exams: Even if you don’t have a family history of eye disease, it’s important to get your eyes checked regularly. Many eye diseases don’t have symptoms in their early stages, so regular eye exams can help detect problems before they become more serious. 
  • Eating a healthy diet: As we mentioned earlier, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids can help keep your eyes healthy. 
  • Quitting smoking: If you’re a smoker, quitting can reduce your risk for several eye diseases. 
  • Protecting your eyes from the sun: Wearing sunglasses with UV protection can help protect your eyes from UV radiation. 
  • Managing other health conditions: Conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure can increase your risk for certain eye diseases. Managing these conditions can help protect your vision. 

Genetic testing at Corinth Eye Clinic and Weeden Eye Clinic 

At Corinth Eye Clinic and Weeden Eye Clinic, we offer genetic testing for certain eye diseases. This testing can help detect these conditions early before symptoms even appear. By identifying the genes associated with these diseases, we can help create a personalized treatment plan to help manage or prevent the disease from progressing. 

Inherited retinal disease testing  

Inherited retinal diseases (IRDs) are a broad group of genetic disorders that affect the retina, the part of the eye that senses light and helps send images to the brain. The most common inherited retinal disease is retinitis pigmentosa, which usually manifests in adolescence or early adulthood and is characterized by progressive degeneration of the rod cells, which are the photoreceptors responsible for peripheral and night vision. Our eye doctors can do genetic testing in our offices for inherited retinal diseases.  

While genetics play a significant role in eye health, there are still many factors within our control that can help protect our vision. By taking steps to maintain a healthy lifestyle and getting regular eye exams, we can help ensure that our eyes stay healthy for years to come. If you’re interested in genetic testing for inherited eye diseases, contact Corinth Eye Clinic or Weeden Eye Clinic today to schedule an appointment.