Macular Degeneration and Family History
Have a family history of macular degeneration?
Among the various personality traits, genetics, and physical makeup that we inherit from our parents, family history plays a major role in determining the risk of eye diseases like macular degeneration. It’s no surprise that modern research acknowledges a strong association of a person’s risk of macular degeneration and genetic predisposition, especially when family history has been reported in nearly half of all cases across the US.
Our genes affect the risk of common illnesses like diabetes or heart disease, and other health factors like high blood pressure. Although non-genetic factors also play a part in developing macular degeneration, research concerning which factor plays the biggest role is continuous.
A person’s mother or father may have been diagnosed with wet or dry macular degeneration, but there’s no guarantee that your future is destined for the same outcome. Bad habits like smoking, lack of exercise, or poor nutrition may have negatively affected a parent’s health and resulted in the condition. Therefore, knowing about your eye health and scheduling routine eye exams with your doctor will likely reduce the chances of developing macular degeneration.
Often, people read about age-related macular degeneration as studies have indicated that patients over 60 are at greater risk. Unfortunately, middle age still carries some risk of developing macular degeneration, too, so early examinations are vital. Why risk losing central vision loss due to statistics when an eye exam is so accessible?
Studies vary regarding how much family history can indicate your chances of developing macular degeneration. A study of 495 macular degeneration cases presented a 20% increased risk, while others reported a 3-4 times higher risk if a parent, child, or sibling has the condition. Although studies can’t precisely estimate the likelihood of developing macular degeneration, all studies confirm that family history has a significant role in your eye health.
Genetic testing is available, but costly. The testing attempts to locate a biomarker for macular degeneration and an affirmation of the disease in the unlikely event that the AdaptDx fails, especially with a strong family history.
At Eye Doctor's Office and Eye Gallery, we carry the AdaptDx, which can detect the best biomarker for macular degeneration, up to 3 years earlier than a standard eye exam. The test can capture macular degeneration at a cellular level! Fortunately, even with a family history, there are practical steps you can take to prevent eye diseases like macular degeneration from progressing.
To learn more about preserving your vision from macular degeneration, visit our page on treatment and prevention of macular degeneration.