A question we get asked all the time in our consulting room is “Why are you asking me about family history during my eye test?” The answer is simple: family history is very important in determining your risk for a number of different eye diseases. Relatively common eye conditions that we see every week at Envision Optical include myopia (short sighted),glaucoma, macular degeneration, keratoconus, amblyopia (lazy eye) and strabismus (turned eye). These all have a hereditary risk element: that is if you have a family history especially a strong family history then your risk of developing these conditions is higher. For instance, it is well established that having a parent or sibling with glaucoma means you are 10 times more likely to develop the condition at some stage than the next person on the street. With these types of conditions its important to remember that the family history means that your RISK of developing the condition is higher, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you WILL develop the condition. The smart path though is that if you are aware of a family history of any condition, that you ensure that you are having a checkup at least every couple of years if not every year. In addition to the common conditions mentioned above, there are textbooks full of hereditary conditions that are potentially visually devastating and have a much higher rate of being passed down through the generations. These conditions include retinitis pigmentosa, corneal dystrophies, retinal dystrophies and visual changes associated with a number of systemic syndromes. The overarching message is to ensure that EVERYONE in your family has a check up for their vision and eye health at least every two years, even if they feel they are seeing clearly. At Envision Optical, we take the responsibility of caring for the vision of Gold Coast residents very seriously and our optometrists will comprehensively examine your eyes to ensure they are healthy and you are functioning with optimum vision.
Does Family History Matter with Eyes?