Vision Health: Family History & Preventative Care

In optometry, as well as in medicine, family history can tell us so much about what diseases to look out for and how to take steps to prevent them. Sometimes it can seem like a bit of puzzle - one side of the family has a history of cataracts, the other macular degeneration. How you can make sure you are taking steps to reduce the likelihood that it will happen to you? Some age-related vision problems can be delayed by practicing good vision health habits. In this blog post, Dr. A discusses common vision problems, what to expect and how to ensure your vision is healthy now to set the stage for healthy vision later.

I have a family history of cataracts.  What do I need to know for myself? Cataracts will eventually develop in everyone and the age when it starts to occur varies.  Cumulative UV exposure, diabetes, and trauma trigger cataracts to form earlier.  A cataract is like having a "film" over your vision that slowly dims and blurs your normal sight. The onset of cataracts can be delayed by ensuring proper UV protection - wearing a good pair of sunglasses with 100% UVA/UVB protection. Taking steps towards diabetes prevention will also help prevent the early onset of cataracts. Eating a diet with plenty of leafy greens and healthy fats also helps to protect your eyes, read more about 5 steps you can take today towards healthier vision in this blog post from the doctor.

I have a family history of age-related macular degeneration.  How do I protect myself? Lutein and Zeaxanthin have proven roles in reducing the risk of AMD. Lutein and Zeaxanthin are both carotenoid nutrients found in leafy greens like spinach, kale and carrots. Diet, UV protection, and cessation of smoking are all important factors to reducing your risk of AMD.  Your doctor will be able to detect any early signs of AMD during your exam and consult you accordingly. Again, taking preventative steps is key to ensuring that your vision is healthy for as long as possible.

If you have a family history of vision problems or eye diseases, make an appointment with Dr. A to discuss this history and exam your eyes for any early symptoms.