We all wonder at times, what part of our parent’s genes did we get? What genes are inheritable, which are not? What disease could we have passed to our children? There are a few eye diseases, which are genetic and can be passed down through generations. That is why knowing your families history is so important. Some of these diseases we are able to prevent or slow down with the proper knowledge.
The most common genetic, but preventable, eye disease is Macular Degeneration. This is preventable with some simple change in lifestyle. The first step is to use UV protection. UV rays have been known to both increases the risk of macular degeneration as well as to stimulate the onset of the disease. Most doctors recommend having 98% or higher UV protected sunglasses. Wearing polarized glasses is even better because it will protect one’s eye from blue light.
Another preventative measure is the right nutrition. Diets high in antioxidants, as well as vitamins A, C, and E greatly reduce the risk of macular degeneration. Foods such as dark leafy greens, spinach, carrots, and oranges. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor for other recommendations.
Regular eye exams are the number one recommended prevention and treatment method. Early diagnosis to such a disease is key. It is recommended to go in once a year for a check-up, but if you are worried always go to see your doctor.
Smoking is already known to kill by causing lung cancer – we are now finding it may also cause blindness. Smoking has been directly related to increase risk of cataracts, which are directly linked to blindness. Cigarettes have over 4000 chemicals, and over 200 toxic chemicals. Many of these toxic chemicals are carcinogenic which cause free radicals. These free radicals at first were only linked to lung cancer and other cancers, but they are now linked to cataracts.
The combination of free radicals, fat build-ups, and hypoxia result in a cataract. It also may result in age-related macular degeneration, loss of night vision, as well as permanent damage to the retina and optic nerve. Smoking increases your risk for many eye diseases because of the build up of free radicals. Many of the eye problems it creates are irreversible, and cause blindness.
Second-hand smoke has recently been found to be very harmful for ones eyes. Second-hand smoke can linger in a room for over two hours without any odor meaning your body is inhaling many of the chemicals from the tobacco even though you did not smoke it yourself.
Many states in the US have outlawed smoking in an in-closed space, and some have gone so far as to out law it in outdoors spaces as well. This is a great beginning for the future of a smoke free environment. For the moment, we are inhaling many chemicals that are causing faster degeneration of the body. If you must smoke, or be around smoke, be sure to open windows and keep cleaner air flowing in.