Having a family history of eye disease can put you at a higher risk for developing one yourself. But, do you know if anyone in your family has ever had an eye disease? Ask some questions at your next family get-together to find out.
Glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and other eye diseases can be genetic. For example, having a family member with glaucoma makes you four to nine times more likely to be struck with the disease. Glaucoma can cause blindness if left untreated. So, it's important to know your family history and share that information with your ophthalmologist. During family reunions, ask your relatives, "Does anyone in our family have glaucoma, macular degeneration or cataracts? What about other eye diseases?" Be sure to tell your family members if you have an eye disease.
If you do have a family history of eye disease, it's a good idea to schedule an eye exam. Talk to your ophthalmologist about your family's history of eye disease. And don't be tempted to undergo genetic testing for eye disease until you have discussed it with your doctor. That way, you and your doctor can take the appropriate preventive steps to minimize your risk and save your sight.