AAOpt 2022: Understanding the genetics of inherited eye disease allows providers to best care for their patients

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Mark E. Wilkinson, OD, FAAO, touches on the importance of understanding the genetics of inherited eye disease, which he presented during the 2022 American Academy of Optometry meeting.

Mark E. Wilkinson, OD, FAAO, clinical professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences at the University of Iowa Health Care’s Carver College of Medicine, speaks with Optometry Times®' Kassi Jackson on highlights from his discussion titled, "Understanding the genetics of inherited eye diseases," which he presented during the 2022 American Academy of Optometry (AAOpt) annual meeting in San Diego.

Editor's note: This transcript has been edited for clarity.

Jackson:

Hi, everyone. I'm Kassi Jackson with Optometry Times, and I'm joined today by Dr. Mark Wilkinson, clinical professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences at the University of Iowa Health Care's Carver College of Medicine. He's here to share highlights from his discussion titled, "Understanding the genetics of inherited eye diseases," which he is presenting during the 2022 American Academy of Optometry is meeting held this year in San Diego. Thank you for being here. Dr. Wilkinson.

Wilkinson:

Thank you for having me.

Jackson:

So would you please share with us the key takeaways from your presentation?

Wilkinson:

Before 1986 there were no known inherited eye diseases. Now, we can genetically classify 111 genes that cause 135 known inherited eye diseases. In this presentation, I will be discussing the big 12 inherited eye diseases that characterize 87% of all currently known inherited eye conditions into 3 branches with 12 subcategories.

Jackson:

And why is this topic so important for optometrists to discuss?

Wilkinson:

Well, on average an eye care provider will only see 1 patient with an inherited eye disease every 2000 patient visits. With this in mind, providers need to know what to look for when they see a patient with reduced vision. Additionally, this course will discuss genetic counseling considerations providers need to be aware of as they provide care to patients and their families with the known or suspected inherited eye disease.

Jackson:

What does this mean for patient care?

Wilkinson:

Well, there are 12 questions that should be asked of every person with a suspected inherited eye disease that will help with the process of determining the correct cause of the patient's vision loss. Knowing the exact cause of the vision loss allows for better patient care. Knowing the correct diagnosis allows the provider to give the correct prognosis, as well as the risk for other family members to be affected with the same condition.

Jackson:

And is there anything you'd like to be sure to add that we didn't touch on?

Wilkinson:

Yes, my institution is a wonderful resource that will help providers better understand inherited diseases and test their knowledge on the subject. That resources stonerounds.org.

Jackson:

Great. Well, Dr. Wilkinson, thank you for your time today.

Wilkinson:

Thank you.