Do children inherit the need for glasses?
Dr. H Janhavi
Kalyan nagar, Bengaluru Jan 22, 2019
Certain medical conditions are closely linked to genetics. A child inherits a lot of qualities from the parents, which may also include certain ailments or disorders. This is often a cause of worry among parents trying to conceive. When it comes to eye-related problems, it is quite a common query if the children inherit the parents’ need to wear glasses or not. The correlation is a bit complex and not very direct.
Eye problems and genetics:
When it comes to eye health, certain diseases or eye conditions are linked to genetics.
However, it is not only genetics that plays a role as there are many other factors like nutrition, environment, etc. which affect certain conditions and hence a few eye problems have mixed causes.
Eye problems which are very closely linked to genetics include:
- Nearsightedness: It is also known as Myopia which is a common cause of impaired vision. Myopia occurs when the eyeball becomes too long compared to the corneal focus and eye lenses. It is also caused by the fact that the cornea and / or the lens are too curved on the length of the eye.
- Farsightedness: It is called as Hyperopia. When you can see things well when they are far away, but everything becomes blurry when they are close, you are farsighted. When you are farsighted, the rays of light do not focus properly.
- Retinitis Pigmentosa: It is a group of eye problems that affect the retina. Patients with Retinitis Pigmentosa lose their vision as they grow. It is a genetic condition and varies from person to person depending upon the type and speed of the vision loss.
- Color blindness: It is a color vision deficiency in which you are unable to distinguish certain colors, such as yellow and blue or green and red. It is a genetic condition that affects male more than women. Color blindness occurs when light-sensitive cells do not respond adequately to changes in light wavelengths that allow people to see different colors.
Eye problems which have mixed causes include:
- Age-related macular degeneration
- Glaucoma: It is a group of eye disorders that cause damage to the optic nerve.
- Strabismus: It is also referred to as cross-eyed or crossed eyes. When your one eye is directly looking at the object you are viewing, and the other eye is misaligned either upward, downward, inward or outward, you have Strabismus.
- Amblyopia: It is known as a lazy eye. It is a vision development disorder in which your eye is unable to achieve the standard visual acuity. There are three types of Amblyopia including Strabismic Amblyopia, Refractive Amblyopia, and Deprivation Amblyopia.
Hence, some problems are more affected by genetics, and some are less affected.
According to various studies, the probability of the child needing glasses depends on whether none, one, or both the parents wear glasses.
- If none of the parents wear glasses, there is about a seven percent chance that the child will need glasses.
- If one of the parents wears glasses, the risk increases to about twenty-five percent (one in four probability).
- However, if both the parents wear glasses, there is about a fifty percent chance (one in two probabilities) that the child will wear glasses.
Though the figures are not exact and vary from one study to another, however, it is safe to conclude that the risk is minimal, if none of the parents use glasses, and highest when both the parents wear glasses.