It is widely known that we are the product of our ancestors, for better or for worse. Whether we like it or not, our vision and eye health is just as tied to family as other health issues are. That is why it is extremely important to find out about any relatives’ eye or vision problems and, even more important, to share that information with your eye doctor (ophthalmologist).
Eye diseases and disorders of any kind that run in your family should be noted. Glaucoma and age-related macular generation are just two of the most significant issues. Just one family member with a history of a disease can mean you are several times more likely to develop it yourself.
A lot of inherited eye diseases have very few symptoms. There is only one way to catch many of these disorders: regular check-ups. While 40 years old is the threshold age for many eye or vision issues, a doctor with knowledge of your family history can arrange for sooner or more frequent exams to catch any problems as early as possible.
Reunions or holiday gatherings are perfect times to ask your relatives about their eye health history. Other options include a group email or Facebook discussion, but make sure to include all blood-related family members. The more information you and your doctor have, the better.
Now! But seriously, many people connect “getting older” with the degradation of their vision and completely miss their opportunity for prevention or treatment. Permanent damage can happen without symptoms, don’t let it get the best of you. Get in touch with your family and make an appointment as soon as possible.
Armed with your family history, an optometrist will be more keenly aware of the warning signs related to the eye or vision issues you are most likely to develop. Even if you require frequent check-ups, comprehensive dilation exams are painless and extremely effective in identifying problems.
It may seem simple, but knowing and sharing your family eye health history could save you from discomfort, reduced vision or even blindness. Make an appointment with your optometrist and take the first step towards healthy, comfortable eyes.