When to Check for Inheritable Eye Diseases

mother and daughterAccording to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are many genetic eye diseases that that are fairly common across the populations in the world. These diseases are transmitted from the parents to their children. It is encouraging to note that not all genetic eye diseases lead to blindness. Although, these diseases have been around for many years, there is still a lot of research needed to find out how to treat them with success. The good news is that over the past twenty years, there has been a lot of progress in the knowledge regarding genetic eye diseases. However, WHO admits that there are no concrete global statistics about the problem, although estimates indicate that about 60% of the cases of blindness in children are caused by genetic eye diseases.

Some of the conditions present at birth include retinal degeneration, congenital glaucoma, cataracts, eye malformations and optic atrophy. It has also been observed that up to 40% of the cases of ocular misalignment can be traced back to a family history of the condition. Doctors have been working extremely hard to identify the inherited gene that is responsible for this condition. The big question then is when to check for inheritable eye diseases. It is worth noting that the problem is not confined to infants only because many adults that have developed age-related macular degeneration and glaucoma conditions hail from families with a history of the problem. It thus means that a person can lead a normal life without signs of the disease only for it to occur one day late into their adulthood. Researchers have been working overtime to identify the genes that cause macular degeneration and glaucoma. They have made good progress that has led to the mapping of certain genes that contribute to the condition. Doctors are also looking at the possibility of some of the eye diseases being aggravated by the presence of other inherited diseases that may not necessarily be eye diseases.

The general consensus is that it is best to check for the genetic eye diseases at the earliest opportunity. Researchers working on the cases have agreed that the first step is to make a review of the available medical records in suspected cases. The information to be reviewed should include all the details held by the family doctor. The review should include a detailed family history testing and diagnosis for any suspected cases that show signs and symptoms of inherited genetic eye disorders. In order to get as much information as possible, the investigation should include as many members as possible in the suspect family tree. The family members should then be subjected to a series of tests that include a thorough assessment of vision and eye movement, an eye pressure check as well as slit-lamp examination for a microscopic examination of the eye. The examination should also include an assessment of the lens, retina and optic nerve for any inconsistencies.

Based on the information gathered, the ophthalmologist working together with the family physician should be in a good position to offer a proper diagnosis and treatment that should take care of the problem.