In light of World Sight Day on October 10, I wanted to talk briefly about eye diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts, and who is more susceptible to these diseases.

Glaucoma and macular degeneration are both more likely with a family history and indeed specific genes are being identified for these conditions. Glaucoma in a parent or sibling makes you 10 times more likely to develop it at some stage in your life. There are numerous other genetic disorders of the eyes that can be sight threatening: enough to make our eye disease text books very very thick! Cataracts can run in the family if they are the type that are present from birth, but most cataracts are age-related. The moral is that everyone should have a check up at least every two years even if you feel your vision hasn’t changed. If you are told by parents, grandparents or siblings that they have diseases like glaucoma, then get a check up if it’s been a while because you are likely to be more at risk than the next person.