Are Retinal Diseases Hereditary?

Hereditary diseases are determined by genetic factors and therefore can be passed on from parents to their offspring through genes. In many families, you can easily see the a physical resemblance. If the son has his mother’s eyes or the daughter has her grandfather’s nose, these are often certain considered physical characteristics to show your relationship. Unfortunately, there are traits that pass from parents to children that are not always complimentary, and worse yet, can predispose you to the risk of diseases and conditions. In fact, the likelihood of many eye diseases stems from family history. As you come into Retina Consultants of Nevada for your annual comprehensive eye exam, that includes your family and medical history, and learn more about the anatomy and function within of the eyes, you may wonder “are retinal diseases hereditary?”

The retina is the light-sensitive layer at the back of the eye responsible for triggering nerve impulses to the brain to form visual images. The retina plays a vital role in how well you see. Retinal health has been linked to family history. Over 2 million people worldwide are currently suffering from hereditary retinal diseases, with over 270 genes having been identified as the cause for these conditions. Inherited retinal diseases can also be referred to as retinal dystrophies that cause damage to the rods and cones in the retina. The rods aid in being able to see in low-light conditions and the cones provide high-resolution to both central and color vision. Types of hereditary retinal diseases include retinitis pigmentosa, choroideremia, achromatopsia, Stargardt disease, cone-rod dystrophy, and Leber congenital amaurosis. Inherited retinal diseases can cause severe vision loss or even blindness. Each type of inherited retinal disease develops because at least one 1 gene is not working properly. Although they are rare, they are degenerative meaning the disease will worsen over time. 

Clinical eye examinations can diagnose and monitor eye conditions and diseases, including retinal diseases that may be attributed to family history. Gene therapy treatments are being conducted and developed to address different types of inherited retinal diseases. A series of retinal image testing can be performed by your ophthalmologist to analyze any changes to the retina. At Retina Consultants of Nevada, we care about your eye health. To schedule your exam, call 702-369-0200 or submit a request form online at WEBSITE.