Do You Inherit Bad Eyesight?

Do You Inherit Bad Eyesight?

s your vision one of the numerous things that you may attribute to your genetic makeup? Nature vs nurture has long been at the center of the classic argument, which raises the question of whether genes or lifestyle have a greater influence on vision. 

Is Bad Eyesight Hereditary?

The issue of genetic effects on vision is complex and complicated. Although heredity can be a major contributing element, it is not the only one determining an individual’s sensitivity to particular visual difficulties. The interaction of environmental influences and genetic predispositions influences the complex terrain of visual health.

Common Genetic Vision Problems


There is a significant genetic component to some eye problems. Among them are:

Refractive errors

The most frequent offenders are astigmatism, nearsightedness (myopia), and farsightedness (hyperopia). These disorders have been linked to specific genes, and the risk increases dramatically if one or both parents have them.


While cataracts can occur as a result of age and environmental causes, some people are genetically predisposed to acquire cataracts early in life. Changes in the lens of the eye cause white, foggy areas in the field of vision when you have cataracts.

If your grandparents or parents get cataracts, your optometrist may advise you to have frequent eye exams to catch the issue early.


Glaucoma, characterized by increasing intraocular pressure, can run in families. Individuals with a glaucoma family history may be at a higher risk. Glaucoma develops when a buildup of fluid in the eye increases pressure, causing optic nerve damage. 

Damage can result in vision loss, but if you have a family member with glaucoma, optometrists can utilize tests to monitor your eye pressure early.

Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) might have a hereditary component, especially if it begins early in life. Macular degeneration is the most frequent degenerative eye condition in persons over the age of 50, and it is the major cause of visual impairment. When the macula in the rear of the eye thins and wears away, the condition compromises central vision. 

Color Blindness

Color blindness is a hereditary disorder connected to the X chromosome that is more common in men. Color blindness does not usually deteriorate with time, yet most varieties of colorblindness have no therapy.


Amblyopia has a hereditary component, and those with a family history of the disorder are more likely to acquire it. The brain preferentially uses one eye over the other, resulting in imbalanced vision. 

Unless the brain is educated to record the vision of the weaker eye in childhood, one eye will grow dominant and the other will become weaker.


This eye misalignment can be caused by hereditary reasons, but environmental factors such as early childhood eye infections can also play a role. Strabismus is an eye disorder that affects the muscles of the eyes, causing them to cross externally (exotropia) or internally (esotropia). It gives the impression that the eyes are staring in separate directions.

Other Factors That Can Cause Bad Eyesight

While genes influence the result, there are also environmental influences such as:

Diet: A lack of necessary nutrients might affect eyesight.

Screen time: Excessive usage of digital devices can strain the eyes and contribute to myopia.

Injuries: Injuries to the eyes might result in visual impairments.

Certain medications: Some medications have side effects that might impair eyesight.

Lifestyle choices: Smoking and heavy alcohol drinking might raise the risk of some eye problems.

How Can I Maintain My Vision?


Regardless of your inherited predispositions, you may protect your vision by taking the following precautions:

  • Regular eye exams are essential for early diagnosis and management.
  • Include fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids in your diet.
  • Reduce screen time by taking breaks and maintaining proper posture.
  • Use sunglasses and safety glasses as needed to protect your eyes.
  • Regular physical activity improves general health, including vision.
  • Manage stress: Chronic stress can have an impact on eye health.
  • Quit smoking and restrict alcohol consumption: Make healthy habits a priority.


While poor vision might be inherited, it is not an unavoidable fate. Understanding how genes and the environment interact allows us to take control of our visual health. We can navigate the world with eyes that see well and confidently regardless of our family tree by adopting healthy behaviors, obtaining regular eye care, and being aware of any hereditary concerns.

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Dr. Kimberly Langdon

Kimberly Langdon

Dr. Kimberly Langdon has been an MD for 31 years, board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist with 19-years of clinical experience. She graduated from The Ohio State University College of Medicine, earning Honors in many rotations. She then completed her OB/GYN residency program at The Ohio State University Medical Center, earning first-place accolades for her Senior Research Project and Score of 98th percentile on a National Proficiency Test.

During her clinical career, she delivered over 2000 babies and specialized in minimally invasive procedures, menopause, endometriosis, menstrual disorders, and polycystic ovarian syndrome. After retiring from clinical practice, she founded a medical device company to commercialize her two patented and four patent-pending medical devices for both life-threatening and non-life-threatening infections.

Kimberly Langdon M.D.

Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Coologics, 2010-present
The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Doctor of Medicine 1987-1991
The Ohio State University Hospital Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency Program 1991-1995
Private practice 1995-2010

Po-Chang Hsu

Po-Chang Hsu

Po-Chang Hsu, M.D., received his medical doctorate from Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston. During his medical school training, Dr. Hsu worked with various patients, including adult and pediatric patients with acute and chronic conditions. Dr. Hsu’s interests include neurology, psychiatry, pediatrics, and sleep medicine.

Before medical school, Dr. Hsu finished a master’s degree at Harvard University and wrote a thesis on neuroimaging in schizophrenia patients at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a Harvard Medical School-affiliated hospital. Dr. Hsu was also a part of the 2008 NASA Phoenix Lander Mission team, which sent a robotic spacecraft to the North polar region of Mars. Dr. Hsu also had research experience on neuroimaging in neonates at Boston Children’s Hospital, another Harvard Medical School-affiliated Hospital.

Since graduating from medical school, Dr. Hsu has worked as a full-time medical writer and consultant. In addition, he has experience writing and ghostwriting books and articles for physicians and health technology start-up companies. Dr. Hsu believes good communication between healthcare providers and patients creates the best results.


-Peer Reviewed Journal Article:
Kounaves, S.P., Hecht, M.H., West, S.J., Morookian, J.-M., Young, S.M.M., Quinn, R., Grunthaner, P., Wen, X., Weilert, M., Cable, C.A., Fisher, A., Gospodinova, K., Kapit, J., Stroble, S., Hsu, P.-C., Clark, B.C., Ming, D.W. and Smith, P.H. The MECA wet chemistry laboratory on the 2007 phoenix mars scout Lander. Journal of Geophysical Research. 2009, Mar; 114(E3): 10.1029/2008je003084.

-Poster Presentation:
2011 Harvard Psychiatry Mysell Poster Session; Boston, MA
Hsu, P.C., Rathi, Y., Eckbo, R., Nestor, P., Niznikiewicz, M., Thompson, E., Kubicki, M., Shenton, M.E. (March, 2011). Two-Tensor Diffusion Tensor Imaging of Acoustic Radiations in Schizophrenia

Dr. Nicolette Natale

Nicolette Natale

Dr. Nicolette Natale is a physician, with a background in Psychology, General Medicine, and English Literature, combining her expertise to provide readers with the most accurate, easy-to-understand, and comprehensive information regarding healthcare. She received her Doctorate in Osteopathic Medicine from Nova Southeastern University, and her bachelor’s in English Literature and Psychology from the University of Miami. Dr. Natale seeks to empower individuals with knowledge, fostering a greater understanding of holistic health and encouraging a proactive approach to well-being