Researching our ancestral roots has become one of our favourite pastimes for many of us. Well, understanding our family history can also be an important factor in maintaining good health.
Genetics plays a vital role in increasing our chances of developing many medical diseases, including those that impact vision and eye health.
According to studies it has been found that more than 350 eye diseases are ascribed to hereditary factors that include age-related macular degeneration (AMD), colourblindness, cataracts, glaucoma, albinism, night blindness and retinitis pigmentosa.
Glaucoma and AMD are the two major leading causes of blindness in adults. It is a condition that is irrevocably damaging the optic nerve because of a build-up of pressure inside the eye and if it is not treated on time it can lead to blindness. While genetics is believed to play an important role in the forms of glaucoma. In fact, having a family member with glaucoma makes you four to nine times more likely to develop the disease.
In an exclusive interaction with Healthwire, Dr. Subhasish Das, Consultant, Ophthalmology, Manipal Hospitals, Salt Lake, Kolkata, explained whether Is blindness a genetic disorder or not:
“Some conditions of eyes are genetic which causes blindness. Most of the congenital conditions which are detected in childhood only rather 60% of the childhood blindness is caused by genetic factors,” said Dr. Subhasish Das.
What are genetic eye diseases?
Genes play a highly substantial role in eye diseases, some of which are highly predominant in children and adults.
Over 60% of cases of childhood blindness are caused by genetic factors (congenital glaucoma, ocular malformations, atrophy of the optic nerve and retinitis pigmentosa). In adults, genetic factors can also be associated with serious eye diseases, including glaucoma and macular degeneration.