Family History Significant Risk Factor in Eye Disease
This article is true of people in the United States and other countries
Kiwis with a family history of conditions like cataracts and glaucoma may have an increased risk of developing eye disease according to a leading New Zealand eye specialist.
Auckland Eye ophthalmologist Dr Justin Mora says family history plays a role in many kinds of eye disease, including conditions which can lead to blindness. In New Zealand macular degeneration is the leading cause of blindness, followed by glaucoma – both are linked to genetics.
“The risk of glaucoma increases with age but is five to ten times higher if your mother, father or sibling has it and the disease creeps up on you without you being aware of it, so early detection is really important,” Dr Mora says.
“Twenty per cent of cases of congenital cataracts are inherited and if there’s a family history of the disease, you have a 50:50 chance of developing it,” he says.
“Our knowledge and understanding about the inheritance of eye disease is increasing and research to identify the responsible genes is ongoing,” Dr Mora says.
Family history is also involved in common vision problems such as lazy eye, crossed-eyes (squint) and near and far-sightedness,…