Do Certain Eye Diseases Run in Families?

Some eye diseases may be at least partially attributed to genetic factors. Other factors—including lifestyle choices — may also play a role, but you may have a higher risk of glaucoma or macular degeneration if your family members have had these diseases.

In this post, the team at Access Eye explains how certain eye diseases can run in families.


You may have a higher risk of glaucoma if you have a family history of this condition. Glaucoma most commonly occurs in people over the age of 40, and African Americans and Hispanics have a higher risk of this disease.

Glaucoma can be treated, and early detection is critical as the disease can cause irreversible damage. If you are in a higher risk pool, be sure to get yearly eye exams.

Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration also appears to be linked to genetic factors. It is a common cause of blindness in people age 65 and over.

There are different types of macular degeneration and a variety of treatment options. A healthy lifestyle may also reduce the rate of macular degeneration. If you are experiencing blurred or distorted vision in the central area of your field of vision, talk to your eye doctor about these issues.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy involves damage to the retina caused by diabetes. Because genetic factors can increase your risk of diabetes, diabetic retinopathy may also be more common in some families than others.

It’s critical to treat diabetic retinopathy before the retina becomes seriously damaged. People with diabetes should get annual exams to check for signs of diabetic retinopathy.

Know Your Family History

You should know your family history and how it impacts your risk of acquiring any type of eye disease. Tell your eye doctor if you have relatives with glaucoma, macular degeneration, or diabetic retinopathy.

In most cases, getting regular eye exams and practicing a healthy lifestyle are the best ways to reduce your risk of serious vision problems. This way, you can spot any eye problems early on and treat them appropriately.