• Katherine Ramirez

It's All In The Family Tree: Eyesight

Updated: Mar 20

Family history. Race. Gender. Environment. Studies show they can all play a role in the risk of developing eye disease. In fact, research has found a genetic basis for nearly every eye disease. That’s why regular comprehensive eye exams are more important than ever for people with eye problems in their family.


If you have any of the risk factors below, your chance of developing an eye disease is increased:

Family History- If a relative, especially a parent or sibling, has a serious eye disease such as glaucoma, cataracts, or macular degeneration, you are more likely to develop that same disease.

Race- African-Americans are more likely to develop glaucoma, a disease that causes gradual damage to the optic nerve. Caucasians are at greater risk for developing age-related macular degeneration, which affects the part of the eye responsible for sharp central vision.

Gender- Women are more likely than men to develop age-related macular degeneration. Pregnant women may experience slight changes in vision due to hormonal changes, water retention and a reduction in tears. These changes usually go away after the baby is born.

Environment- Exposure to ultraviolet light and radiation increases your risk for developing cataracts. To protect your eyes from cataracts, wear sunglasses that block 100% of UV rays and make sure you eat a healthy diet that includes proper amounts of vitamin A. Smoking also increases the risk of age-related macular degeneration.

You can’t always prevent eye disease from developing. But a few simple precautionary measures can go a long way toward reducing their severity:

  • If you have a family history of eye disease, start having regular dilated eye examinations early in life. And make sure your children, parents and other family members get their eyes examined, too.

  • If you are age 40 or older, find an experienced eye care professional who can give you a thorough examination, and make regular follow-up appointments.

  • Other diseases, such as diabetes, can lead to eye problems. Follow your doctor’s recommendations for controlling that disease and make sure you visit your eye care professional regularly for eye exams.

Talk with your eye care professional about other risks to your eyes that might be involved with your work or leisure activities, and find out what you need to do to protect your vision.


Call Baldwin Eye Care, LLC to schedule an appointment with your eye care professional. It’s important to seek a professional diagnosis to determine the correct cause of your symptoms.


Baldwin Eye Care LLC - Caring for your eyes, total I care health.

(608) 837-7325

Information Provided By Vision Council of America.

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