Is bad eyesight genetic? Can your children inherit it?
What exactly is at the root of poor eyesight? Is bad eyesight hereditary? Does it stem from our own behavioral patterns or are our parents to blame for our fuzzy vision? It's not as simple as "My father was nearsighted, so I will have myopia" -- poor eyesight is not the result of specific dominant or recessive traits passed down from one generation to the next.
Rather, bad eyesight is caused by specific conditions or diseases that prevent the eyes from focusing correctly, blurring vision or even bringing about vision decline. Some people are born with a predisposition for these diseases, while in others vision can decline due to environmental factors.
Is bad vision hereditary?
Is bad vision genetic? Are your parents to blame for your fuzzy vision? Whether bad vision is caused by our own behavioral patterns or inherited from our parents depends on the specific causes that lead to the eye’s inability to focus properly. Bad vision, or anything less than 20/20 (average) vision, in many cases, can be the result of your own specific genetic make-up -- but not always.
Refractive errors like nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism are the most common causes behind blurred vision, occurring when the corneas are unable to refract light correctly onto the retina. These refractive errors, which can easily correct these errors by ordering prescription contacts online , stem from the shape of the corneas or the depth of the retinas in the eyes. People can be born with these vision impairments even if their parents have perfect vision, though studies have found that these conditions become more likely in people with certain genetic markers compared to those without them.
That said, your parents aren’t to blame for all your vision problems -- environmental factors can also have an impact on your eye health and vision. Though some people are genetically predisposed to developing eye diseases, some diseases like cataracts and glaucoma, can also be brought on by certain lifestyles.
Cataracts develop when naturally occurring proteins produced in the eye begin to form, creating a cloudy veil over the lens of the eye over time. Glaucoma is a disease that develops through mounting pressure inside the eyeball over time. When the pressure inside of the eye increases, it damages the optic nerve which relays visual information to the brain, resulting in vision loss.
Both Cataracts and Glaucoma may be brought on in patients that have other underlying health conditions, like high blood pressure, obesity and smoking. Finally, macular degeneration, which occurs in most people as we age, is a disease caused by deterioration of the retina. As we age, the part of the retina responsible for sharper vision deteriorates, causing blind spots and blurred vision, which is why many people begin to use multifocal contact lenses and glasses after 40.
These diseases usually occur later in life, and can be prevented or delayed, which is why it is so important to schedule regular eye exams with your OD, since they are trained to spot the early warning signs of these diseases and begin treatment before vision loss occurs.
Can your children inherit bad eyesight genetics?
In the end, yes, some vision problems can be inherited from family members, and you may be more susceptible to certain diseases affecting your vision because of who your family is. But whether they are inherited or brought on by your lifestyle, you can treat and delay these vision impairments by leading a healthy lifestyle and protecting your eyes. You can correct for vision impairment by wearing prescription contacts or glasses.
Make sure to discuss any questions or concerns you may have about these eye diseases with your OD during your next eye appointment, as well as the best ways to treat or prevent them. For your refractive error, you can order contacts online with insurance, and have them sent directly to your door.