10 Hereditary Eye Diseases & How to Prevent Them

Jun 18, 2024 | Eye Care, Blog

In hereditary eye diseases, therefore, the foundation of protection lies in awareness and early intervention. There are a lot of physiological disorders and defects that were found to be hereditary in nature, so early diagnosis remains helpful in preventing loss of eyesight. This article also presents an overview of the topics and the examination of primary hereditary eye diseases, their signs, precautions, and the use of genetic tests to treat hereditary eye diseases.

What Are Genetic Eye Diseases?

Hereditary eye diseases are disorders that result from alterations in genes that are passed through generations and influence the morphology or function of eye tissues. Many of these conditions affect eyesight and, if not treated, result in severe loss of vision or even blindness.

10 Hereditary Eye Diseases

Age-related macular degeneration

1. Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)

Age-related macular degeneration occurs in the macula, a small area in the eye’s retina responsible for providing detailed vision. It is currently the most prevalent cause of irreversible blindness in the population of 50-plus years.

  • Description: AMD comes in two types: the dry type, where the macula becomes thinner, and the wet type, where new blood vessels start growing under the macula and leak blood and fluid.
  • Symptoms: Central vision that appears hazy or foggy, problems distinguishing between small objects or words.
  • Prevention: Regular comprehensive eye exams are crucial for early detection. To minimize the chances of progression, it is recommended to increase the intake of antioxidants such as vitamins C and E, zinc, lutein, zeaxanthin, and omega-3 fatty acids. Sunglasses, especially those that have been approved to prevent UVA and UVB radiation, are necessary in this regard.

2. Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a collection of diseases that affect the optic nerve primarily through intraocular pressure.

  • Description: Primary open-angle glaucoma, the most common type, develops slowly and initially has no symptoms. Angle-closure glaucoma occurs suddenly and is a medical emergency.
  • Symptoms: Gradual loss of peripheral vision (often unnoticed until advanced stages), tunnel vision in severe cases.
  • Prevention: This is why eye checkups should become a part of a normal, daily schedule to be performed as often as possible. Through early intervention, the likelihood of developing glaucoma can be greatly minimized because smoking weakens blood pressure, which results in glaucoma.

Cataracts

3. Cataracts

Cataracts are conditions characterized by the clouding of the eye’s lens, causing blurring or haziness of vision.

  • Description: Cataracts are mainly a senior health issue but can be genetically inherited, developed due to an injury to the eye, certain medicines, or ailments such as diabetes.
  • Symptoms: Headaches, especially when near brightly lit screens such as a computer screen, problems seeing at night, haze over objects of vision, and washed out or pale colors.
  • Prevention: Wearing UV-protected glasses may help delay the formation of cataracts. It is also important to have a healthy diet with lots of antioxidants (vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin E) as well as maintain good overall health also to attend regular eye checkups.

4. Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP)

RP is a group of genetic disorders that result in the degeneration and death of photoreceptor cells in the retina. This, in turn, affects the individual’s night vision and peripheral vision.

  • Description: RP initially is characterized by night blindness and then tunnel vision as the condition advances.
  • Symptoms: Night blindness, impaired vision, especially in poorly lit environments, and gradual loss of peripheral and central vision.
  • Prevention: Genetic counseling ensures that families get all the information they require to minimize these risks. Many low-vision aids and devices are available for use in day-to-day tasks.

Color Bindness

5. Color Blindness

Color blindness is a genetic condition that affects the ability to distinguish certain colors.

  • Description: Interestingly, color blindness is usually inherited from parents and tends to be sex-linked, and strains are common in males.
  • Symptoms: Loss of the ability to differentiate between particular shades of colors like red and green, blue and yellow, etc.
  • Prevention: Although there is no proven treatment, there are ways of managing it in everyday life like using color-coded labels or applications. Genetic counseling enables site selection to facilitate family planning.

6. Myopia (Nearsightedness)

Myopia is a refractive abnormality that affects the presentation of distant objects on the retina as being out of focus when the presentation of close objects is correct.

  • Description: Myopia often develops during childhood and adolescence due to genetic and environmental factors.
  • Symptoms: Failing to be able to see faraway objects and often, having to squint, having sore eyes.
  • Prevention: It is important to limit screen time, play outdoors, and have regular eye check-ups. Myopia progression can be managed with corrective lenses or specially formed lenses known as orthokeratology.

7. Stargardt Disease

Stargardt disease is a form of inherited macular disease that results in loss of central vision, specifically in the eye.

  • Description: It usually develops in childhood/adolescence and worsens over time.
  • Symptoms: Double vision in the central area or the center of peripheral vision or eye, trouble seeing words in a book, or difficulty distinguishing faces.
  • Prevention: Sun protection by wearing sunglasses, refraining from smoking, and early gene screening are essential. Diseases can be checked and their progression evaluated through routine eye checkups.

8. Amblyopia (Lazy Eye)

It is a disability that occurs in infancy or childhood due to improper vision development in one eye.

  • Description: It is a condition that develops when one eye has inadequate vision during the early stages of development.
  • Symptoms: Decreased visual acuity in one eye, depth perception issues, or problems with spatial orientation.
  • Prevention: Eye tests at this age are crucial for providing the recommended interventions, which involve spectacles, vision training, or sutures to boost the growth of the opposite eye.

9. Strabismus (Crossed Eyes)

Strabismus is a muscular disorder of eye movement in which the eyes fail to function as a team, with one eye turned inwards, outwards, up, or downwards.

  • Description: It could even be congenital and develop later due to muscle or nerve problems.
  • Symptoms: Eye problems that could include misaligned eyes, double vision, or poor depth perception of the objects.
  • Prevention: This could be corrected through early diagnosis and treatment under the eye specialist. In most cases, vision therapy can help, but corrective lenses or surgery may be necessary in severe circumstances.

10. Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy is a medical condition that occurs in individuals with diabetes; the blood vessels in the retina become damaged due to high blood sugar levels.

  • Description: If the condition is not treated, it may result in blindness in both eyes.
  • Symptoms: It starts with the patient not showing signs of the illness. In the later stages of the disease, there may be blurry vision, dark spots, floating objects in the field of vision, or even vision fluctuations.
  • Prevention: Managing blood glucose levels, having eye tests, and treating the disease well with laser treatment or medications will help stop vision loss.

How Do Genetic Eye Disorders Manifest?

People with genetic eye disorders can be diagnosed at birth, young age, middle age, or in the elderly, depending on the specific genetic eye disorder and the mode of genetic inheritance. The first symptom could be a vision change, poor night vision or vision that cannot be described, and other eye-related problems.

Why Go For Genetic Testing?

Genetic testing enables doctors to diagnose the presence of gene changes on a patient’s DNA that are known to cause eye diseases. Thus, it allows for early assessment and management of patients and enables family planning tailored to the family’s genetic makeup.

Genetic Eye Disease Treatment

Genetic testing enables doctors to diagnose the presence of gene changes on a patient’s DNA that are known to cause eye diseases. Thus, it allows for early assessment and management of patients and enables family planning tailored to the family’s genetic makeup.

Watching Out For Genetic Eye Disorders

It is important to have eye checks from time to time to ensure that one’s eye health is checked and possible inherited blindness is checked. Thus, the general well-being of an individual through the management of ailments such as diabetes and hypertension also greatly contributes to the prevention of vision loss.

FAQs

  1. What are genetically inherited eye diseases?
    Hereditary or congenital eye diseases are diseases the child has inherited from the parents because of improper genes in the eye.
    What are the three most common eye diseases?
  2. The three most common eye conditions are age-related macular degeneration, or AMD, glaucoma, cataracts, and glaucoma.
    Can eye defects be hereditary?
    It is interesting to know that most eye defects and diseases are inherited; thus, genetic counseling and testing are useful in risk-determining.
  3. What are the five diseases of the eye?
    The five common eye diseases are cataracts, glaucoma, AMD, diabetic retinopathy, and RP.
  4. Can genetic eye problems be cured?
    Some types of genetic eye diseases are not treatable, but if they are diagnosed early, the progression of the disease and its effects on an individual’s vision can be controlled.
  5. What is the eye disease passed from mother to son?
    Specific genetic cases of eye ailment, such as Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy, can run in the maternal line.

Conclusion

Knowledge of hereditary eye diseases enables people to adequately intervene and protect their vision. Thus, proper and normal eye check-ups, healthy habits, and genetic tests when necessary are the ways that can help to avoid or control such diseases. If you need eye treatment or wish to get a recommendation on the kind of glasses you should use, you can contact the Eyeglass Factory for an eye test.

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