Eye Health: Factors, Genetics, and Steps to Maintain Clear Vision

DNA Testing
Eye Health
Epigenetic Testing
Eye Health: Factors, Genetics, and Steps to Maintain Clear Vision

Our Eyes: Windows to the Soul and a World of Adventure


  1. Introduction
  2. The Role of Genetics and Epigenetics in Eye Health
  3. Factors Contributing to Eyesight Degeneration
  4. Steps to Mitigate Eyesight Degeneration
  5. Conclusion
In 30 seconds...
This post explores factors contributing to eyesight degeneration and steps to maintain good eye health. Genetics play a significant role, and Kokora's DNA health test can provide insights into your unique eye care needs. Factors affecting vision include age, UV light exposure, blue light exposure, eye pressure, lifestyle choices, and medical conditions. To mitigate eyesight degeneration, schedule regular eye exams, wear protective eyewear, manage eye pressure, eat eye-healthy foods, embrace a healthy lifestyle, and rest your eyes regularly. Taking care of your eyes and understanding your genetic predispositions can help maintain clear vision throughout your life.


Our eyes can be an intense thing to think about, they are our window into the world around us, and are a key component of how we experience our life, from looking up at the stars to into your loved one's eyes one could imagine that our eyesight is where the universe starts and where the universe ends. But this isn’t just my words, according to a study at the John Hopkins University Most people feel like the loss of vision would be the worst physical ailment that could occur to them over any other physical condition.

So why do we know so little about our eyes, and why are 65% of the UK adult population overdue for a routine eye test?

The eye is obviously extremely complex, and just thinking about the fragility of eyesight is enough to elicit a shuddering of the spine. As with most biological processes, our eyes will be affected as we age. But there will also be a variety of other areas affecting our eyes such as diet, environment, exercise, stress, pollution as well as a strong genetic component - that can all affect our eyesight.

The good news then is that we DO have a certain amount of control over our eye health.

In this informative post, we'll explore the various factors that can contribute to eyesight degeneration over time and uncover the steps you can take to maintain sharp, clear vision, including incorporating foods good for eye health. Furthermore, we'll delve into the intriguing world of genetics and epigenetics, revealing how Kokora's DNA health test can provide insights into your unique eye care needs, from understanding the role of genes to discovering the best foods good for eyes.

So, grab a comfortable seat, and let's embark on this insightful journey into eye health!

Common Eye Issues

Presbyopia, is a normal part of aging that hardens the lens and affects our ability to see close objects. Presbyopia affects over 1.8 billion people worldwide, and 45% of UK adults over 453.

Myopia is when near objects appear clear but objects far away become blurry, this develops during childhood and adolescence and becomes more apparent in your 20's. This is a common issue and in fact, it is growing, with 41% of Americans suffering from nearsightedness in 2004, an increase of 25% since 19714.

Cataracts are synonymous with being an age-related health issue. It occurs when the lens within the eye develops cloudy patches, which over time can increase in size and can eventually lead to complete blindness.

Glaucoma has a strong genetic association and tends to run in families, with open-angle glaucoma (OAG) – being labeled as the “Silent thief of sight”. There will be various reasons for developing glaucoma, from genetics, age, lifestyle (stress and sleep) to even environmental factors such as pollution and ultraviolet build-up.

Diabetic retino-pathy is a condition that can cause vision loss and blindness in people with diabetes, it affects blood vessels in the retina (the light-sensitive tissue in the back of your eye). This condition can also lead to diabetic macular edema (DME) neovascular glaucoma and retina detachment.

The Role of Genetics and Epigenetics in Eye Health

Your DNA and epigenetic factors can have a significant impact on your eye health. Analyzing specific genes can provide insights into potential risks and predispositions related to vision. Let's take a closer look at one such gene: the MTHFR gene.

The MTHFR (methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase) gene is responsible for producing an enzyme that plays a vital role in the metabolism of folate, an essential B vitamin. Some variations in the MTHFR gene can lead to a reduced ability to metabolize folate, which in turn, may result in elevated levels of homocysteine—an amino acid associated with various health conditions, including eye-related issues.

Research has shown that elevated homocysteine levels can be a risk factor for age-related macular degeneration, retinal vein occlusion, and glaucoma. By analyzing the MTHFR gene, Kokora's DNA health test can provide valuable insights into your predisposition to these eye conditions and help you take preventive measures.

In addition to the MTHFR gene, Kokora's DNA health test examines other critical genes related to eye health, such as HTRA1, CFH, C3, TLR3, EPHA2, MYOC, LOXL1, BCO1, and NBPF3. Our comprehensive test offers detailed reports on:

  • Sight Degeneration With Age
  • Cataracts Risk
  • Open-Angle Glaucoma
  • Beta-Carotene Conversion
  • Eye Health, and B Vitamin Deficiency

Armed with this information, you can make informed decisions and take a proactive approach to your eye care. To discover the full range of eye health reports covered in our DNA Health test, please click here

Factors Contributing to Eyesight Degeneration

Blue light in the bedroom

Our vision may face various challenges as we journey through life. Let's take a closer look at some common factors that can affect eye health and cause our eyesight to decline:

Age-related vision decline: Time waits for no one, and as we age, our eyesight may naturally weaken. Changes in the lenses, retinas, and muscles controlling our eyes can lead to conditions such as presbyopia (farsightedness) and age-related macular degeneration.

Ultraviolet (UV) light exposure: Much like Icarus flying too close to the sun, prolonged exposure to UV light can cause damage to our delicate eyes. UV radiation increases the risk of cataracts, corneal sunburn, and even cancer in and around the eyes.

Blue light exposure: In our digital age, many of us spend countless hours in front of screens. The blue light emitted by these devices can disrupt our sleep patterns and cause digital eye strain, leading to symptoms like dry eyes, blurred vision, and headaches.

For most people, looking at screens takes up the majority of their time, a survey of 500 UK adults found that over half of them look at screens for 11 hours or more a day, and more than a quarter look at screens for 14 hours or more a day5. This begs the question; If we spend more of our waking life looking at screens than not, which world are we truly living in? I digress.

A further study found that post-lockdowns the average amount of time children spent staring at screens increased by 52% when compared to pre-lockdown figures, and with a 32% decrease in children’s engagement in moderate to vigorous physical activity, we should at least be questioning the use of lockdowns to ‘protect’ our little ones.

  • Dry Eyes: Extended screen time is drastically increasing dry eyes and is thought to be causing subsequent cases of myopia. We blink to apply moisture to the eyes which prevents our eyes from drying out. We normally blink around 15-20 times a minute but when we are staring at screens we blink less than half of that.
  • Retinal Damage: Digital devices release blue light, which can reach the inner lining at the back of our eyes (retina) and studies show that blue light can damage light-sensitive cells in the retina. This can lead to macular degeneration.

Eye pressure: A force to be reckoned with, high eye pressure can lead to complications like glaucoma. This condition damages the optic nerve and, if left unchecked, can result in irreversible vision loss.

Lifestyle factors: Our daily choices can cast a shadow over our eye health. Smoking increases the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration, while poor nutrition can rob our eyes of essential nutrients. A sedentary lifestyle may also contribute to eye-related issues, as regular exercise promotes healthy blood circulation, including that of the eyes.

Medical conditions: Some health conditions, like unwelcome guests, can bring along eye-related problems. Diabetes increases the risk of diabetic retinopathy, a leading cause of blindness, while high blood pressure can harm the blood vessels in the retina.

By understanding these factors, we can take the necessary steps to keep our vision bright and clear, even in the face of adversity.

Steps to Mitigate Eyesight Degeneration

Now that we've covered the risks, let's focus on the fun part: steps you can take to protect your eyes.

Schedule regular eye exams: Early detection is key to preventing and treating eye issues.

Wear protective eyewear: Using appropriate eyewear can help shield your eyes from harmful light, reducing the risk of eye-related issues. Let's explore two types of protective eyewear and their benefits:

  • Sunglasses: Wearing sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays can protect your eyes from the damaging effects of ultraviolet (UV) light. Prolonged exposure to UV light increases the risk of cataracts, corneal sunburn, and even cancer in and around the eyes. When choosing sunglasses, look for a label indicating full UV protection, and opt for wraparound styles or large lenses to maximize coverage.
  • Blue light-filtering glasses: As we spend countless hours in front of screens, our eyes are exposed to blue light emitted by devices such as smartphones, tablets, and computers. Blue light can disrupt our sleep patterns and cause digital eye strain, leading to symptoms like dry eyes, blurred vision, and headaches. Blue light-filtering glasses can help reduce eye strain and sleep disturbances by blocking a portion of the blue light emitted by these devices. These glasses can be especially beneficial for individuals who work on computers or use digital devices for extended periods.

Manage eye pressure: Keeping your eye pressure in check is essential for promoting better eye health. Elevated eye pressure can lead to glaucoma, a condition that damages the optic nerve and may result in vision loss. Here are some ways to manage eye pressure and maintain healthy eyes:

  • Regular eye exams: Schedule comprehensive eye exams with your optometrist or ophthalmologist to monitor your eye pressure and detect any issues early on.
  • Exercise: Engaging in regular physical activity can help lower eye pressure by improving blood flow to the optic nerve and retina.
  • Maintain a healthy weight: Obesity can increase the risk of glaucoma and other eye-related conditions. Staying within a healthy weight range can help prevent these issues.
  • Limit caffeine intake: High caffeine consumption can temporarily raise eye pressure. Moderating your caffeine intake can help maintain stable eye pressure levels.

Eat foods good for eye health: A nutrient-rich diet can work wonders for our vision by providing essential nutrients to maintain and improve eye health. Let's explore some of the top foods that benefit eye health:

Carrots and sweet potato dinner
  • Leafy greens: Spinach, kale, and collard greens are packed with antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin, which can help protect against age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.
  • Fatty fish: Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines can help reduce dry eye syndrome and support overall eye health.
  • Berries and citrus fruits: Vitamin C is abundant in fruits like strawberries, oranges, and grapefruits. This powerful antioxidant can help lower the risk of cataracts and promote healthy blood vessels in the eyes.
  • Nuts and seeds: Almonds, sunflower seeds, and chia seeds are rich in vitamin E and zinc, which can help protect our eyes from free radical damage and maintain good retina health.
  • Carrots and sweet potatoes: These colorful veggies are rich in beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A—an essential nutrient for maintaining healthy eyes and preventing night blindness.


Taking care of your eyes is a lifelong commitment, but with the right steps and knowledge about your genetic predispositions, you can enjoy clear, healthy vision for years to come. Don't forget to leverage Kokora's DNA health test to gain personalized insights into your eye care needs.

I hope this article has left you feeling a little more in control of your health and specifically your eye health, from this you should be able to identify various areas of your lifestyle that could be compromising the quality of your eye sight as you progress through life. 

The key word here is Control many of us go through life not feeling in control of how our age is affecting us and prescribe to the idea of ‘oh well that's life i guess’, and whilst i do not recommend resisting age as this can definitely cause stress, the understanding that you do have a certain level of control to how you age should provide a certain level of relief, and it's our mission here at Kokora to give you the insights you need to take action.