289 274 7110

yelp google-plus chevron-right chevron-left chevron-down x phone location share chevron-thin-right calendar left-quote right-quote black-star-glasses-png eye book-appointment-maroon-icon-(1) types-of-services-white-icon-(1) location-white-icon next2 previous2 forward3 backward2 facebook twitter linkedin2

Niagara Falls, ON / (289) 296-6970

three-generations-family Hero

Is Macular Degeneration Hereditary?

Request Appointment

Macular degeneration, also known as age-related macular degeneration or AMD, is among the most common eye diseases in the world. It develops slowly, but it can permanently affect your eyesight if left unmanaged.

But is it an eye disease that can pass through generations? And what can you do to manage your risk of developing AMD throughout your life? Today, we’re going to look at this eye disease, its effect on your eye health and vision, and provide you with nutritional and lifestyle advice that could help preserve your sight.

However, because all eyes are different, we recommend speaking with one of our team members if you believe you risk developing AMD. Eye Wellness is ready to support your sight through compassionate care and personalized strategies.

Request your appointment today.

What Is Macular Degeneration?

Age-related macular degeneration is a common eye disease that affects a part of your retina called the macula. The macula is the centremost part of your retina, and it’s responsible for providing you with the crisp central vision you use to see fine details, like the words on this page or the characteristics of someone’s face.

However, AMD slowly damages your macula over time, affecting your central vision. When this happens, you may find it more difficult to read, drive, or play sports. 

People over the age of 55 have a higher risk of developing the disease, so we recommend having annual eye exams to help detect any issues before it permanently affects your vision. There are 2 different types of AMD people can develop, and they include dry macular degeneration and wet macular degeneration.

Dry Macular Degeneration

Dry macular degeneration is the most common version of the disease, but also the slowest to develop. 

It occurs when small deposits of lipids, known as drusen, start to develop on your macula, which can thin and deteriorate your macula over time, causing permanent vision loss. However, doctors can detect drusen by examining your macula during a comprehensive eye exam.

Wet Macular Degeneration

Wet macular degeneration is much less common than dry, but it’s responsible for up to 90% of all AMD-related vision loss.

This disease develops much faster than dry macular degeneration, and has a risk of occurring if abnormal blood vessels start to develop under your macula. These abnormal blood vessels can develop for several reasons, but they are quite delicate and can break easily. When they break, they can leak blood and other fluids into your macula, causing it to swell and cause rapid vision loss.

In most cases, we treat wet macular degeneration as a medical emergency.

Is The Disease Hereditary?

If your parents or grandparents developed age-related macular degeneration as they got older, you would likely have a higher risk of developing the disease. In fact, some researchers believe you are twice as likely to develop AMD if you have family members who’ve had it, but you can still develop AMD even if you don’t have a family history of it.

Researchers believe that 2 different types of genes can increase your risk of macular degeneration, and these include:

  • Complement genes, which help fight foreign bacteria in our immune system, but may attack our own cells as well, including the cells in our retina.
  • ARMS2/HTRA, which is the focus of various types of research, but how it works is still a mystery. Nevertheless, if you have this gene, you may have a higher risk of developing AMD.

Despite there being a genetic connection between AMD and its development, there are still a number of health and environmental factors that can increase the risk of developing this disease. These risk factors can include:

  • Smoking
  • Diet
  • High blood pressure
  • Race
  • Being overweight
A variety of nutrient rich fruits and vegetables arranged to display the image of a healthy eye.

Nutrition & Eye Health Management

If you risk developing AMD, properly managing your health is important. Eating healthy foods and maintaining a regular exercise schedule can help lower your risk and preserve your vision and eye health.

Some great strategies you can use to help manage your risk of AMD are:

Eat Lutein-Rich Foods

Lutein is a carotenoid that helps protect and support your macula’s health. Foods rich in lutein include:

  • Kale
  • Orange peppers
  • Spinach
  • Dark green lettuce
  • Leeks
  • Broccoli
  • Peas

AREDS2 Nutritional Supplements

According to the Age-Related Eye Disease Study AREDS1 and AREDS2, several types of supplements can help lower your risk of developing an eye disease. Some of them include:

  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin C
  • Copper
  • Zeaxanthin
  • Zinc

Learn More About Your Eye Health Today

Managing your eye health is a combination of healthy living and doctor-guided support. Please request an appointment with our team at Eye Wellness today to learn more about your eye health and what you can do to manage your risk of developing AMD. We can help provide insight into your eye health and strategies for preserving your vision throughout your life.

Written by Laurie Capogna

Dr. Laurie Capogna is a doctor of optometry and the founder of Eye Wellness. Her mission is to educate and inspire her patients, the public, and the eye care community about the power of nutrition and lifestyle in ocular health. She regularly presents educational lectures and articles on eye health and nutrition, and has co-authored two best-selling books on these subjects; Eyefoods: A Food Plan for Healthy Eyes and Eyefoods for Kids: A Tasty Guide to Nutrition and Eye Health.

More Articles by Laurie Capogna

Our Blogs

Is Macular Degeneration Hereditary?

Eye ConditionsEye HealthEye Nutrition

Macular degeneration, also known as age-related macular degeneration or AMD, is among the most common eye diseases in the world. It develops slowly, but it can permanently affect your eyesight if left unmanaged. But is it an eye disease that can pass through generations? And what can you do to manage your risk of developing […]

Read More…

September 20, 2022
Laurie Capogna

Do Contact Lenses Dry Your Eyes?

Contact LensesDry Eye

Dry eye is among the most common issues we help our patients manage, and it can develop for several reasons. Dry air, eye strain, medications—it can all affect your eye comfort. But what about contact lenses? Can contacts lead to dry eye symptoms, and if so, what can you do to achieve the clear, comfortable […]

Read More…

September 13, 2022
Laurie Capogna

Top 5 Benefits of Scleral Lenses

Contact Lenses

Finding the right contact lenses for your unique visual needs is crucial. The first step is scheduling an eye exam with your optometrist. The advancements in contact lens technology make specialty contacts more effective than ever in correcting vision issues. Scleral lenses are an excellent specialized contact lens option that can help correct unique visual […]

Read More…

August 11, 2022
Laurie Capogna

Macular degeneration, also known as age-related macular degeneration or AMD, is among the most common eye diseases in the world. It develops slowly, but it can permanently affect your eyesight if left unmanaged. But is it an eye disease that can pass through generations? And what can you do to manage your risk of developing […]

Read More…

Dry eye is among the most common issues we help our patients manage, and it can develop for several reasons. Dry air, eye strain, medications—it can all affect your eye comfort. But what about contact lenses? Can contacts lead to dry eye symptoms, and if so, what can you do to achieve the clear, comfortable […]

Read More…

Finding the right contact lenses for your unique visual needs is crucial. The first step is scheduling an eye exam with your optometrist. The advancements in contact lens technology make specialty contacts more effective than ever in correcting vision issues. Scleral lenses are an excellent specialized contact lens option that can help correct unique visual […]

Read More…

Our Location

We are located at the corner of Portage Rd. and Colborne St., in the same complex as the Shoppers Drug Mart and Stamford Centre Library.

Our Address

  • 3643 Portage Rd, Unit 9
  • Niagara Falls, ON L2J 2K8

Contact Us

  • Monday10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Tuesday10:00 AM - 7:00 PM
  • Wednesday10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • Thursday10:00 AM - 7:00 PM
  • Friday10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
  • SaturdayClosed
  • SundayClosed

Our Services

facebook twitter linkedin2 google-plus instagram pinterest youtube phone link location calendar envelope share2 chevron-right