Does Your Ancestry Affect Your Vision?

A lot of things can be associated with your ancestry. From your physical characteristics down to your psychological charisma; all can be traced back to your heritage. Life generally stems from the inside of us, from our genes. Would you be equally shocked to know that some of the conditions of our eyes are connected to our heritage?

Yes, they are. A number of eye conditions are directly related to our genetics and ancestry. That means by the simple biological virtue of hailing from somewhere, you are naturally susceptible to some sorts of eye conditions. Therefore, there is an increased probability of you developing such conditions. Let us, therefore, examine some of these eye conditions and how they connect back to your ancestry.

Heritage connecting with glaucoma

Glaucoma can occur when there is accumulated pressure inside your eyes. When glaucoma’s presence begins to make itself felt, your optic nerves are notably damaged. Extensive damage from glaucoma can devastate your vision with the capacity to spiral into blindness and total loss of vision if you don’t detect it early enough to start treatment. Symptoms of glaucoma cut across redness in the eye to sustained pains while your vision steadily deteriorates. So how is glaucoma connected to one’s heritage?

In most common cases of glaucoma, susceptibility increases when patients grow older. But aside from age, your heritage also contributes to your vulnerability to glaucoma. Glaucoma is more rampant with Asians, Hispanics and African Americans. Glaucoma is not naturally inherent in people of ethnic European heritage.


Cataract is an eye condition that occurs as a result of coagulation of protein in your eye lens. From its basic construction, the human eye lens is transparent. Once these coagulating proteins lump up in your lens, it obstructs the passage of light into the retina which is located at the back of the human eye. For this obstruction, a sufficient amount of light cannot reach your retina, therefore your vision can get hazy. So how does cataracts connect with your heritage?

Just like its counterpart glaucoma, cataracts are more seen among older people. But aside from being prompted by age, cataracts are more common, at an earlier age, in people Asian, African and Hispanic genetic heritage. This is most likely so due to the heritage from these groups stemming from sunnier climates. Sun exposure has a direct impact on the earlier onset of cataract.

AMD (Age-Related Macular Degeneration)

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD )also comes with age and represents a notorious distortion in the way your eyes interpret images. AMD has no cure, only treatments that can prolong your vision. In the beginning, you may struggle to pick out the exact faces of people you know, as well as struggle to identify the proper outlines of objects. When it comes to how ethnic heritage is connected to AMD, the condition is more common among Caucasians. The basic Caucasian as he/she ages, is more likely to suffer the AMD when compared to someone of his age from Asia or even Africa. Why this is, is anyone’s guess.

Having said all these, we see that our heritage (or ancestry) play contributing roles in the development of pathologies that affect our vision, especially as we get older. In all, keep in mind that regular eye checks are very helpful in stemming the tide of eye deterioration despite an ancestral susceptibility. In all three of the above pathologies, blindness will eventually occur if you do not seek proper treatment from your eye doctor.

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