Among the various personality traits, genetics, and physical makeup that we inherit from our parents, family history plays a major role when determining the risk of eye diseases like macular degeneration. There’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 our risk or chances of common illnesses like diabetes or heart disease, and other health factors like high blood pressure. Although non-genetic factors also play a role in developing macular degeneration, science is still researching which factor plays the biggest role.
Even though a person’s mother or father may have been diagnosed with wet or dry macular degeneration, there’s no guarantee that your future is destined for the same outcome. Bad habits like smoking, lack of exercise, or low nutrition may have negatively affected a parent’s health and resulted in macular degeneration. Therefore, knowing about your eye health and scheduling routine eye exams will 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 a greater risk factor. Unfortunately, middle age still carries some risk of developing macular degeneration, 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 report that one is 3-4x at a higher risk if you have a parent, child, or sibling with macular degeneration. Even though 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.
At Eye Doctor's Office and Eye Gallery, we carry the AdaptDx, which can detect macular degeneration up to 3 years earlier than a standard eye exam. Even if one has a family history, fortunately, there are practical steps a person can take to prevent eye disease 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.