A growing amount of research has suggested that a person’s family eye health history is a risk factor for many eye conditions including cataracts and macular degeneration. But what about refractive errors like myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism? Can these common vision problems be inherited? In this blog post, cornea and Bay Area LASIK specialist Mark Mandel, M.D., of Optima Eye answers this question in detail.
What Is a Refractive Error?
Nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism are refractive errors that affect the eye’s ability to focus. An eye affected by a refractive error has a combination of an abnormal curvature of the cornea and abnormal length of the eye. A healthy cornea has an even and smooth curve, allowing it to refract incoming light and create a sharply focused image on the retina. An abnormally shaped cornea and/or a long or short eye cannot refract light properly, resulting in a blurry image.
Are Refractive Errors Inherited?
Research suggests that refractive errors can, in some cases, be inherited. If one or both parents have a refractive error, a child is more likely to suffer from one as well. Babies may be born with a refractive error and the condition can worsen over time. Other risk factors and causes of refractive errors include:
- Eye injury
- Previous eye surgery
- Other eye conditions
If refractive errors run in your family, it is important to regularly undergo comprehensive eye exams. Comprehensive eye exams allow eye doctors to diagnose and treat refractive errors (and other eye problems) in their early stages before they worsen.
Treatment Options for Refractive Errors
The most common ways to treat refractive errors are prescription eyeglasses and contacts. However, a more convenient treatment option exists in LASIK. This laser vision correction procedure utilizes an advanced laser system to change the shape of the cornea so it can properly refract light, restoring crisp and clear vision. LASIK is an outpatient procedure that can be performed in as little as 15 minutes. Most patients notice an improvement in their vision almost immediately.
Get Clearer Vision Today
If you are tired of depending on glasses or contacts to see clearly, LASIK may be for you. To find out if you are a suitable candidate for LASIK or another laser vision correction procedure, please schedule a consultation with Dr. Mandel. Call Optima Eye at 877-210-2020 ext. 3.