Before talking about a possible genetic link regarding this eye condition, it would help to understand what it is. For starters, it’s rather complex. At the same time, a qualified eye doctor can help manage it. The most important thing is that if you have any symptoms, don’t wait to schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist.
Dry Eye Disease (or DED, also referred to as Dry Eye Syndrome) is common. Keep in mind that it’s not a life-threatening issue, but it typically causes chronic pain. As a result, it often makes performing visual tasks difficult. For some people, that means they can no longer work. Even recreational things like playing games on the computer become too difficult.
As a complex condition that affects the ocular surface of the eye, it occurs when the tear film becomes weakened or unstable. This may be a result of injury, illness, infirmity, or a physiological imbalance. DED causes inflammation and damage to the ocular surface and may cause distortion or other deterioration of a person’s eyesight.
To put that in simpler terms, there are three layers of the tear film. First, the outer tear film lipid layer or TFLL. Second, the middle aqueous layer. Third, the innermost mucin layer. Each of these plays a critical role in allowing an individual to see. With a smooth surface, the ocular makes it easier to see things clearly.
Typically, eye doctors classify this form of eye condition as one of two primary types. There’s tear-deficient dry eye and evaporative dry eye. However, subcategories also exist.
Researchers and scientists have spent years trying to determine if DED is genetic. To date, they haven’t consistently validated the few components they have to work with. That means that genetics may or may not contribute to Dry Eye Disease. However, other things do contribute. Here are some examples:
Age 50 and older
Heavy Caffeine Use
History of Gout
History of Thyroid Disease
Although different from DED, this, too, is a form of dry eye that’s often seen in people over the age of 50. Along with blurred vision, it reduces central vision. In other words, an individual sees a blank area or blind spot in the middle of their field of focus. In this case, the inner layers of the macula, which is the area of the retina responsible for clear vision, break down.
Some people notice a change in just one eye, but over time, it commonly affects both eyes. However, it may also develop in both eyes simultaneously. If not properly treated, everyday tasks, such as driving, reading, and even recognizing faces, become difficult, if not impossible.
In this case, genetics do play a role. For example, if a parent or sibling develops this eye disease, you would have a two-and-a-half times greater chance of developing it too. However, several other things contribute to Dry Eye Macular Degeneration. These include:
Age 60 and older
If you notice any change in your vision, regardless of how insignificant, don’t wait to see an eye doctor. It’s especially important if they feel dry, if you notice blurred vision, or if you feel as though there’s sand in one or both eyes. With all eye issues, early treatment is always the best option.
The doctors and entire staff at Dry Eye Center of Alabama and Family Eye Care offer outstanding patient care. So, contact our Homewood, Alabama, clinic today by calling 205-490-2322.