Importance of Family Eye Health

Have you got your Mum’s eyes? The importance of family eye health history.

Having Mum’s or Dad’s eyes can be more than just that physical resemblance. Dad may have glaucoma and you remember that Grandma had cataracts. As we get older, it’s important to find out as much as we can about our family eye health history.

Having Mum’s or Dad’s eyes can be more than just that physical resemblance. Dad may have glaucoma and you remember that Grandma had cataracts. As we get older, it’s important to find out as much as we can about our family eye health history.

One of the most serious forms of vision loss and blindness – aged-related macular degeneration (AMD) – has a strong familial link however very few people are aware of this. Recently, the Macular Degeneration Foundation Australia (MDFA) commissioned a survey to identify the level of awareness of the link between family history of macular degeneration and the likelihood of developing macular degeneration. They discovered that more than 60% of the general population were unaware of the strong familial link. Amongst sufferers of macular degeneration, almost 30% were aware of the link but had not had that important conversation with family members to inform them of the risk.

Another leading cause of vision loss, glaucoma, can also be hereditary. For example, did you know that you have a 50% increased risk of glaucoma if you have a first degree relative (parent or sibling) who suffers from glaucoma?

Discussing health problems within families can be a difficult conversation to have but when it comes to your eye health, much can be done to reduce risks and intervene early if your family eye health history is known. When you have your regular eye test with us at Outlook Eye Centre we’ll ask you about your family history of eye disease. Information about your parents’ vision, your siblings’ vision, grandparents’ vision and even that of aunts and uncles can be invaluable in assisting us to monitor your eye health and refer you for specialist assessment if necessary.

Don’t let your eye health history be a mystery – have that talk and let us know!

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