Do We Inherit Bad Eyesight?


My father has a poor eyesight and I actually inherited that from him. Like him who wears eyeglass, I did wear eyeglass. So I wondered if do we really inherit bad eyesight? I’ve made some research and found information that can really be helpful.

Poor Eyesight is genetic. Some of the genes that are linked to poor eyesight such as ANTXR2, KCNQ5, and CTSH genes. In total, genetics play a role of up to 33% in our eye health. This means that if your parents have poor eyesight, there is a 1/3 chance that you will also have bad eyesight.

While genetics play a role in our poor eyesight, the question is how much? Another is if it is not 100% genetics, can we do something or have some lifestyle changes to help our eyes? This article is made for that. If genetics is something we can’t do about, can we do something on other aspects to help our vision?

Is Bad Eyesight Genetic?

Bad eyesight can be attributed to genetics as there are lots of genes that can affect eyesight. That means if your relatives are linked to poor eyesight, there is a high chance that you may also have a poor eyesight. However, genetics only play a role for the maximum of 33%, which means that the other part of the pie which is 67% comes from other sources which you can do something about it.

What this means is that while genetics play a part 33% of the time, the other 67% comes from other sources such as lifestyle changes, diet, good habits, and more. There are numerous habit changes which you can do to help you. While there is nothing you can do for genetics, lifestyle changes still accounts twice as more as genetics so all hope is not lost.

Here is a pie chart showing the maximum amount of percentage genetics can play in poor eyesight

There are numerous genes that can cause poor eyesight. Here are some of them and I turned it into a table to help understand it better.

Poor Eyesight TypeGenes Associated
MyopiaKCQN5, CD55, CACNA1D, KCNJ2,
CHRNGMYOID, GRIA4GJD2,
RASGRF170DLG2KCNMA1
LRRC4CRBFOX1TJP2, RDH5,
RURB, CYP26A1, SIX6PRSS56,
CHD7, ZBTB38, ZIC2, 70BMP4,
DLX1, ZIC2, SCO2 and ZMAT4
HyperopiaMFRP, AGPS, PDE11A
AstigmatismVAX2, SHH, PDGFRA
PresbyopiaCRYAA, RP1L1
Type of poor eyesight(myopia,hyperopia,astigmatism and presbyopia) and genes associated with them

As you can see in the table, there are lots of genes that can be the cause of poor eyesight. The data was taken from News Medical Life Science.

In total, there are 27 genes associated with myopia, 3 genes in Hyperopia, 3 genes in astigmatism, and 2 genes in presbyopia. Which is 35 in total.

However, as science progresses, there will be more genes that will be discovered.

But you don’t need to memorize and understand them, what you need to know is that the reason why genetics play a huge role in poor eyesight is because there are numerous genes that can cause them and even a single one of those can lead to poor eyesight.

Note: The 33% data came from if both of your parents have poor eyesight. This means that the highest is 33%. Actually if only one of your parents has poor eyesight, there is only 20% and 2.5% if all your parent have good eyesight. This just proves that while genetics play a huge role, it doesn’t mean that you can’t do something about it.

How much does Genetics Affect Our Eyesight?

As a general rule, genetics plays at most 33% of the role in telling if we will have poor eyesight. That is a huge amount and that is because there are 35 genes now listed that can lead to poor eyesight. Even a single one of those can lead to poor eyesight in an individual.

It is not surprise that genetics play a huge role in telling if we will have a poor eyesight. This means that if both your parents have a poor eyesight, there is a 33% chance that you might also get poor eyesight from genetics.

So a parent with poor eyesight can have child with also a poor eyesight. If only one of your parent have a poor eyesight, there is a 20% chance that you will also have a poor eyesight.

Like my story where my father had a poor eyesight and I inherited that gene despite my mother had a 20/20 vision.

Do I know what specific gene caused this? I have no idea. The thing is that I started having myopia at the same age as my father did which was in high school.

I won’t blame it all to genetics though, as said in the graph above, genetics only account for 33%. The other 67% comes from lifestyle changes to take care of our eyesight.

If you’ve followed my story, you would know how I successfully lessened my myopia through good habits to take care of my eyesight.

I am not at 20/20 yet but going there. In fact, I am now at -1.25 diopters (started at -3.25). Here is a video of me checking my eye grade at home. I used the tool in this website to do it and you can also measure your eye grade here for free.

As you can see, I am real. I am not someone who just give advice without showing my face. This is because I know how this works. Everything I put here are researched well and to prove it, I am not shying away from showing myself.

What is the cause of Poor Eyesight?

There are lots of reasons or cause for poor eyesight, one big factor is genetics. Other factors of poor eyesight can be from the environment such as always staring at screens, not going outside, constantly rubbing your eyes, poor diet, smoking, and many more.

Here are some of the causes of poor eyesight:

  • Genetics – There are 35 genes now associated with poor eyesight, even getting one of those can give you a high chance of getting a bad vision.
  • Always Staring at Screens – Did you know that too much close-up work tire your ciliary muscles? Those are the muscles inside your eyes. Once they get tired, it can cause multiple problems such as headache, and the most common pseudomyopia.
  • Excessive Rubbing of Eyes – Excessive rubbing of eyes can cause damage. The most common is known as Keratoconus where your cornea which is the outer portion of your eyes reshape into a cone shape instead of round
  • Not Getting Enough Sleep – Sleep is a perfect remedy for tired eyes. It is also the time to rest those ciliary muscles that worked all day focusing. Remember that tired ciliary muscles or ciliary spasms can cause pseudomyopia.
  • Smoking – Smoking has been linked to numerous health problems. Eyes are included as it is linked to cataracts, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration.

Pseudomyopia or spasm of accommodation happens when you always do close-up work. As a general rule, the ciliary muscles contract when you focus on near objects. If you focus on near objects for a long time, it can tire out those muscles.

Can Eyesight Improve?

Eyesight can improve by doing good habits and removing the bad ones. Another is that diet can affect eyesight as there are important nutrients your eyes need to function properly. Also, there are nutrients that help protect your eyes from harmful UV rays such as Lutein and Zeaxanthin. Carrots are also good for night blindness.

However, diet alone is not enough. While there is a scientific journal reporting vitamin A improves night blindness, night blindless alone is not the whole picture in improving your eyesight.

Source: Chrulski, Kenneth. “The Effects of Carrot Consumption on Eye Sight in Various Lighting Conditions.” Cleveland Clinic, 2005, civiceducation.clevelandclinic.org/Student-Projects/Student-Projects/2015-Fact-or-Fiction-The-Effects-of-Carrot-Consump.aspx.

There are numerous practices to improve eyesight and the thing that I’ve used is hormesis. Here is a complete tutorial on hormesis. This is the method that worked for me.

Also, in terms of diet, here is a helpful table of the various foods that can help eyesight.

Foods that can help your eyesightHow it helps
Peanut ButterHas a lot of Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin A
AvocadoHas a lot of Lutein, Zeaxanthin
TurmericCurcuminwas found to prevent cell death in Macular Degeneration
OnionThe Sulfur content of onions helps your body producing glutathione
CarrotsHas a lot of Beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin
EggsLots of Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Lutein, Zeaxanthin, and Zinc
BroccoliThis vegetable has Beta-carotene, Lutein, Zeaxanthin, Vitamin C and Vitamin E.
BananaHas a good amount of carotenoids
ChocolatesHas a good amount of flavonoids
Sweet PotatoesHas a good amount of Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin E
ApplesHas a good amount of Vitamin C and Carotenoids
YogurtHas a good amount of Zinc
OrangeHas a good amount Vitamin C

For more information on these data, how I got them and the scientific journals behind them, you may check this article: Foods that are Good for your Eyes

Jason

Jason Ong is a YouTuber and the one who owns this site. He shares what he learned to people and make videos if necessary. He was a former lecturer. The things he taught are topics related to Clinical Laboratory Science or what others call Medical Technology. Right now, he is also working part-time in an app company as a production supervisor. You can visit his YouTube Channel on https://ongjason.com/youtube

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