Families share a lot — inside jokes, traditions, recipes, memories, and of course DNA. The latter can be a wild card when it comes to our eye health, however.
Genetics Can Play a Part in Eye Diseases
That’s because genetics can determine whether we suffer from common vision problems or more acute conditions that can cause blindness. In other words, if certain eye diseases are familial, you’re at higher risk of developing the disease yourself. For example, having a family member with glaucoma makes you as much as nine times more likely to develop the condition. Glaucoma can cause blindness if left untreated, so it’s important to know your family history and share that information with your eye doctor.
But don’t let this scare you, even if there’s a history of eye disease in your family. You can take control of your eye health. For one, make it a point to get regular eye exams so your doctor can monitor your eyes for any signs or symptoms of a disorder. (Some are slower moving than others.)
In addition, don’t forget about the importance of a balanced diet to boost eye health. Fruits and vegetables, especially dark, leafy greens are packed with nutrients. Protect your eyes year-round and make sure to get plenty of rest. Poor quality or not enough sleep can result in dark circles, eye spasms, dry eyes and even glaucoma in the most extreme cases. Adequate sleep, on the other hand, gives the eyes the chance to rest, heal, and replenish so that they can stay healthy.
Other lifestyle factors like screen time can have an impact, too. If you spend a lot of time in front of devices, be sure to give your eyes a rest every now and then to reduce strain. Try the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look away about 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds.
Visit Your Eye Doctor Regularly
Beyond adopting a healthy lifestyle, don’t discount the power of a professional opinion. If you have any family history of eye conditions or diseases, don’t delay your visit to the eye doctor. He or she may recommend a comprehensive dilated eye exam — a painless procedure that allows them to examine your eye for any signs of problems. From here, they may recommend regular eye exams to keep an eye on the condition’s progression.
Your family history matters when it comes to eye heath, yet many are unaware of their genetic risk factors. That’s why it’s important for you to take a proactive approach to your eye care. Learn your family history and share that with your Midwest Eye Consultants eye doctor. Schedule a comprehensive eye exam today and enjoy peace of mind.