Time is a strange thing. One minute you’re living a carefree life, and the next you’re worrying about your eyesight. When you or people in your family deal with eye disease, it gives you even more to think about.
Maybe your grandma started needing eye injections.
Or your dad had cataract surgery.
And your kid needs glasses.
Whatever’s happening — you 100% feel older (and so adult) caring more about your vision and eye health. When trying to learn more about eye diseases, you’re probably seeing references to “genetic” or “hereditary” conditions, right? So, your family you love so much (who maybe drives you a little crazy…) plays an important role in your vision.
Our optometrist, a dad of two, gets family stuff. Dr. Balocca has been serving Phoenix and the surrounding community at Eye On Health since 2013. We understand you want reliable information when it comes to knowing what eye diseases run in your family. While coming in for an exam gives the most personal insight, here’s a rundown of the top 5 conditions to look out for.
It helps to start with a common question:
Are genetic and hereditary eye problems the same thing?
Hereditary eye conditions
Have the potential to be passed on to future generations or inherited.
Involve the genetic material that makes YOU…you!
Have genetic components.
Genetic eye disorders
Result from a mutation in your genes.
But not all are hereditary.
In other words, hereditary and genetic eye diseases are very similar, yet distinct. Mutated genes (genetic) can be passed down in families (hereditary) — and those are the ones we care about.
1. Age-Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD)
ARMD is caused by changes in your macula, the center portion of your retina that allows you to see. In early stages of this disease, it causes blurry vision, and the late stages can cause blindness.
Research proves that ARMD has both genetic and hereditary components. Studies identify certain genes as indicators for people with a higher risk of developing this eye disease.  If someone in your family suffers from this condition, be sure to mention it to Dr. Balocca at your appointment. Click here to learn more about ARMD.
Glaucoma is referred to as the “silent sight taker” because this condition begins without symptoms. It starts to steal your side (peripheral) vision first.
It’s vital to know if anyone in your family has this disease. If they do, you’re 4 to 9 times more likely to get it!  We know that the most common form of glaucoma, called primary open-angle glaucoma, is hereditary. 
Glaucoma is an easily treatable condition — and annual eye exams help you monitor risk factors. Find more information on this undercover, vision-threatening disease here.
Myopia results when the eyeball itself develops a more pointed shape (instead of round). This slight difference causes light entering your eyes to land in front of your retina. We need light to hit directly on the retina to see clearly.
Myopia is one of the most common causes of vision impairment worldwide. Research shows that both genetic and environmental factors contribute to this condition. So if your eyes are more football-shaped, your kids are more likely to be at risk.  (Sorry, parents.)
An eye exam with our Phoenix optometrist helps you get back to sharp vision with a new pair of glasses or contacts!
4. Color Blindness
Sometimes called color deficiency, you can’t see colors in a normal way with color blindness. This condition varies in levels of intensity and happens in the retina. There, two types of special cells detect light. You may have heard of them before: rods and cones.
Cones detect three different types of colors (blue, green, and red). Color blindness happens when these cones aren’t functioning properly — or sometimes, at all. 
This condition tends to be something you’re born with, and it’s more commonly passed from mother to son (hereditary). You can still develop this condition later in life from diseases, certain drugs, or trauma.  We can easily diagnose color blindness using simple tests during your appointment at Eye On Health.
5. Corneal Dystrophies
This group of inherited eye diseases affects the clear layer on your eyes. Some types of corneal dystrophies include:
Map-Dot Fingerprint Dystrophy
As with most eye conditions, the severity of symptoms and vision effects can vary. But many get progressively worse over time and can cause eye pain.
It’s important to know the family history of eye diseases to prepare yourself and your own family. Other degenerative eye diseases and conditions can cause blindness. We don’t want to scare you — we want you in the know!
We aren’t your average optometry office here in Phoenix. Our eye doctor stands out from the rest. Dr. Balocca cares about your eye health and vision as much as you do! He loves what he does and is eager to support your vision goals.
We provide the latest technology to our patients for a complete and thorough eye exam — not only improving your vision but ensuring your eye health is in tip-top shape. While many eye conditions are inherited, your overall health directly impacts others, like diabetic retinopathy. Dr. Balocca’s team understands the link between your eyes and quality of life, and wants you to enjoy everything Phoenix has to offer!
You deserve an eye doctor nearby you can trust. Whatever eye concerns or family history you’re dealing with, we’re here to help.