Every family has its traditions – sweet potato pie for Thanksgiving, egg hunts on Easter, breakfast in bed to celebrate birthdays. But there are some family traditions that aren’t so good, and that’s often the case with eye health.
Genetics play a role in many eye conditions from common vision problems to more serious diseases that can cause blindness, according to the Cleveland Clinic. That means if certain eye diseases run in your family, you’re at higher risk of developing the disease yourself. Researchers have found that vision problems in otherwise healthy eyes, such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism, are linked to genetics, as are glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration, two of the leading causes of blindness in adults.
So what do you do if there’s a history of eye disease in your family? Most importantly, get regular eye exams so your doctor can keep an eye on your vision and find potential problems before they become serious. Many eye diseases, such as glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration, have no symptoms in the early stages.
In addition, you should also take preventive measures to keep your eyes healthy, such as eating lots of fruits and vegetables, especially dark, leafy greens, maintaining a healthy weight and wearing protective eyewear when exposed to the elements. If you spend a lot of time at the computer, be sure to give your eyes a rest every now and then to reduce strain. Try the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look away about 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds.