How to prevent cataracts
There are some simple things you can do to lower your risk and potentially slow or delay the development of cataracts later in life.
Eye diseases can occur from both genetic and nongenetic (environmental) factors. If you have a family member who has a genetic eye disease, you may be at greater risk of developing the disease as well. Your doctor may recommend genetic testing. Experts at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center’s Departments of Ophthalmology and Genomic Medicine use genetic testing and genomic sequencing to determine your risk of developing genetic eye diseases.
Genetics determine what traits you inherit from your parents, including genes that can increase your risk of developing certain diseases. Your genes control the traits that make you who you are. From the color of your eyes, to your sleep patterns, to your overall health, your genes are at play.
Your genomic sequence is comprised of chains of genes. Certain genes and variations in genomic sequences can increase your risk of developing specific diseases. Genomics is the field of medicine that considers your entire genome sequence, as well as how environmental factors affect your health, to assess why you may develop a condition or disease and how you will respond to treatment.
Genetic testing and genomic sequencing are a form of precision medicine. Precision medicine empowers you and your doctor to know your particular risk of developing certain diseases. Your care team uses this information to tailor your healthcare and treatment specifically for you.
Genetic testing is performed by collecting a blood or saliva sample and sending it to a lab to examine your genes, which are made up of DNA. Genetic testing shows which genes you have and if there are any variations, deletions or multiplications of those genes or chains of genes. The lab sends your results to your doctor or a genetic counselor.
A genetic counselor is a health care professional who has graduate education and training in genetics and counseling. A genetic counselor reviews your family history, results of genetic testing and genomic sequencing. They use this information to help you understand your risk for inheriting certain diseases, as well as available treatment options.
The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center offers ophthalmic genetic counseling with licensed genetic counselors who focus on risk and treatment of genetic eye diseases. Genetic counselors at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center can help explain what your family history and genetic testing results mean and connect you with doctors and resources to help you create the best possible care plan.
There are 200-300 genes that are known to cause eye diseases that doctors can screen for. Some genetic eye diseases that are commonly screened for include:
Ophthalmic disease risk assessment is the process of completing genetic testing and having a genetic counselor or doctor review your results along with your genomic sequence and family history. They use this information to determine if you, and even your family members, are at increased risk of developing a genetic eye disease.
You should have ophthalmic disease risk assessment if:
The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center is committed to maintaining your eye health and protecting your vision. Identifying your risk of developing a genetic eye disease allows you to be proactive in your health care, for your doctors to closely monitor you and for greater opportunity to preserve your vision by detecting a genetic eye disease early.
Genomic and precision medicine are the future of health care. Genetic testing and genomic sequencing can reveal increased risk of developing certain diseases and allow doctors to be more proactive and less reactive. Scientists and medical researchers at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center study genomic sequences and environmental factors to help identify gene variations and external factors responsible for inherited eye diseases and other conditions that can run in families. These can range from bleeding and blot-clotting disorders to diseases of the skin, kidney and lung.
Trends can be identified when many people with the same genetic variations have the same disease. The Ohio State Wexner Medical Center uses lab results and data from patients who participate in the Eye Genetics Program to discover new trends in genetic variations and links to diseases. Pinpointing genetic causes of different diseases can improve diagnosis, treatment and outcomes for patients and their families.
If your doctor has recommended you have genetic testing done, or if you have a family member who has a genetic eye disease diagnosis and you wish to have an ophthalmic risk assessment, you can expect the following steps:
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