Genetics and Eye Health

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 farsightedness 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. 

Age-related 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