Many people do not realise this but a good amount of the population is color blind. Colour blindness is passed down through the X chromosome, rather than the Y chromosome. Because of this, it is more common for men to be colour blind than women. Typically red/green and blue colour blindness is the most common kind of colour blindness that is passed down through the parents.
Glaucoma is an eye disease in which intraocular pressure is so high that the optic nerve becomes damaged. This damage leads to loss of vision and at times, even blindness. Although there are no symptoms to clue someone in to needing to be tested for Glaucoma, a family history increases the risk of getting it from anywhere from 4 to 9 times as much as someone without a family history. Therefore, ask your relatives if anyone has suffered from Glaucoma and if so, you can have this checked at Cork Eye Clinic.
Macular Dystrophy is another eye disease that can result and often does, in the loss of vision. It affects the eyes retina, in particular, a small area nearby the retina called the macula. When someone suffers from Macular Dystrophy has a build up of a substance called lipofuscin, which is a fatty yellow pigment, underneath the macula. Since the macula is responsible for sharp central vision, the build up of this pigment causes loss of vision over time. Although not everyone who suffers from Macular Dystrophy can connect the disease to a relative, it is a genetic disease, typically passed on from one parent. If one or both of your parents have started experiencing a decline in their vision and suspect it may be Macular Dystrophy, please ask to be tested for this as well.
Hyperopia and Myopia
These terms are not as foreign to you as they sound. Myopia is also known as “nearsightedness,” meaning that objects look clearer when they are closer. Hyperopia on the other hand, is “farsightedness,” when objects that are farther away are clearer. Both Hyperopia and Myopia are inherited. They can be treated with either glasses or contact lenses.
Search the Branches of Your Family Tree
Although it is not a fun conversation to have over the dinner table, asking your family members about common diseases that other members have suffered from is important. Ask your parents and grandparents about their eye conditions. Were any on this list? Even if not, it’s better to be safe than sorry.