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1.  FLT1 Genetic Variation Predisposes to Neovascular AMD in Ethnically Diverse Populations and Alters Systemic FLT1 Expression 
Purpose.
Current understanding of the genetic risk factors for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is not sufficiently predictive of the clinical course. The VEGF pathway is a key therapeutic target for treatment of neovascular AMD; however, risk attributable to genetic variation within pathway genes is unclear. We sought to identify single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with AMD within the VEGF pathway.
Methods.
Using a tagSNP, direct sequencing and meta-analysis approach within four ethnically diverse cohorts, we identified genetic risk present in FLT1, though not within other VEGF pathway genes KDR, VEGFA, or VASH1. We used ChIP and ELISA in functional analysis.
Results.
The FLT1 SNPs rs9943922, rs9508034, rs2281827, rs7324510, and rs9513115 were significantly associated with increased risk of neovascular AMD. Each association was more significant after meta-analysis than in any one of the four cohorts. All associations were novel, within noncoding regions of FLT1 that do not tag for coding variants in linkage disequilibrium. Analysis of soluble FLT1 demonstrated higher expression in unaffected individuals homozygous for the FLT1 risk alleles rs9943922 (P = 0.0086) and rs7324510 (P = 0.0057). In silico analysis suggests that these variants change predicted splice sites and RNA secondary structure, and have been identified in other neovascular pathologies. These data were supported further by murine chromatin immunoprecipitation demonstrating that FLT1 is a target of Nr2e3, a nuclear receptor gene implicated in regulating an AMD pathway.
Conclusions.
Although exact variant functions are not known, these data demonstrate relevancy across ethnically diverse genetic backgrounds within our study and, therefore, hold potential for global efficacy.
Significance of VEGF pathway genetic variation within AMD is unclear. We demonstrate genetic risk for neovascular AMD present in FLT1, but not KDR, VASH1, or VEGFA using multiple, ethnically diverse cohorts. The association was more significant in meta-analysis than in any single cohort.
doi:10.1167/iovs.14-14047
PMCID: PMC4073997  PMID: 24812550
age-related macular degeneration; angiogenesis; FLT1; VEGF
2.  Small RNAs from plants, bacteria and fungi within the order Hypocreales are ubiquitous in human plasma 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):933.
Background
The human microbiome plays a significant role in maintaining normal physiology. Changes in its composition have been associated with bowel disease, metabolic disorders and atherosclerosis. Sequences of microbial origin have been observed within small RNA sequencing data obtained from blood samples. The aim of this study was to characterise the microbiome from which these sequences are derived.
Results
Abundant non-human small RNA sequences were identified in plasma and plasma exosomal samples. Assembly of these short sequences into longer contigs was the pivotal novel step in ascertaining their origin by BLAST searches. Most reads mapped to rRNA sequences. The taxonomic profiles of the microbes detected were very consistent between individuals but distinct from microbiomes reported at other sites. The majority of bacterial reads were from the phylum Proteobacteria, whilst for 5 of 6 individuals over 90% of the more abundant fungal reads were from the phylum Ascomycota; of these over 90% were from the order Hypocreales. Many contigs were from plants, presumably of dietary origin. In addition, extremely abundant small RNAs derived from human Y RNAs were detected.
Conclusions
A characteristic profile of a subset of the human microbiome can be obtained by sequencing small RNAs present in the blood. The source and functions of these molecules remain to be determined, but the specific profiles are likely to reflect health status. The potential to provide biomarkers of diet and for the diagnosis and prognosis of human disease is immense.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-933) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-933
PMCID: PMC4230795  PMID: 25344700
Small RNAs; Fungi; Plasma; Microbiome; Metagenomics; Next generation sequencing; MicroRNA; Biomarker; Blood; Y RNA
3.  Cost-effectiveness of ranibizumab and bevacizumab for age-related macular degeneration: 2-year findings from the IVAN randomised trial 
BMJ Open  2014;4(7):e005094.
Objective
To assess the incremental cost and cost-effectiveness of continuous and discontinuous regimens of bevacizumab (Avastin) and ranibizumab (Lucentis) for neovascular age-related macular degeneration (nAMD) from a UK National Health Service (NHS) perspective.
Design
A within-trial cost-utility analysis with a 2-year time horizon, based on a multicentre factorial, non-inferiority randomised controlled trial.
Setting
23 hospital ophthalmology clinics.
Participants
610 patients aged ≥50 years with untreated nAMD in the study eye.
Interventions
0.5 mg ranibizumab or 1.25 mg bevacizumab given continuously (monthly) or discontinuously (as-needed) for 2 years.
Main outcome measures
Quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs).
Results
Total 2-year costs ranged from £3002/patient ($4700; 95% CI £2601 to £3403) for discontinuous bevacizumab to £18 590/patient ($29 106; 95% CI £18 258 to £18 922) for continuous ranibizumab. Ranibizumab was significantly more costly than bevacizumab for both continuous (+£14 989/patient ($23 468); 95% CI £14 522 to £15 456; p<0.001) and discontinuous treatment (+£8498 ($13 305); 95% CI £7700 to £9295; p<0.001), with negligible difference in QALYs. Continuous ranibizumab would only be cost-effective compared with continuous bevacizumab if the NHS were willing to pay £3.5 million ($5.5 million) per additional QALY gained. Patients receiving continuous bevacizumab accrued higher total costs (+£599 ($938); 95% CI £91 to £1107; p=0.021) than those receiving discontinuous bevacizumab, but also accrued non-significantly more QALYs (+0.020; 95% CI −0.032 to 0.071; p=0.452). Continuous bevacizumab therefore cost £30 220 ($47 316) per QALY gained versus discontinuous bevacizumab. However, bootstrapping demonstrated that if the NHS is willing to pay £20 000/QALY gained, there is a 37% chance that continuous bevacizumab is cost-effective versus discontinuous bevacizumab.
Conclusions
Ranibizumab is not cost-effective compared with bevacizumab, being substantially more costly and producing little or no QALY gain. Discontinuous bevacizumab is likely to be the most cost-effective of the four treatment strategies evaluated in this UK trial, although there is a 37% chance that continuous bevacizumab is cost-effective.
Trial registration number
ISRCTN92166560.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2014-005094
PMCID: PMC4120317  PMID: 25079928
Neovascular age-related macular degeneration (AMD); vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibitors; trial-based economic evaluation; cost-utility analysis; cost-minimisation analysis; cost-effectiveness
4.  Heritability and Genome-wide Association Study To Assess Genetic Differences Between Advanced Age-Related Macular Degeneration Subtypes  
Ophthalmology  2012;119(9):1874-1885.
Purpose
To investigate whether the two subtypes of advanced age-related macular degeneration (AMD), choroidal neovascularization (CNV) and geographic atrophy (GA), segregate separately in families and to identify which genetic variants are associated with these two subtypes.
Design
Sibling correlation study and genome-wide association study (GWAS)
Participants
For the sibling correlation study, we included 209 sibling pairs with advanced AMD. For the GWAS, we included 2594 participants with advanced AMD subtypes and 4134 controls. Replication cohorts included 5383 advanced AMD participants and 15,240 controls.
Methods
Participants had AMD grade assigned based on fundus photography and/or examination. To determine heritability of advanced AMD subtypes, we performed a sibling correlation study. For the GWAS, we conducted genome-wide genotyping and imputed 6,036,699 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs). We then analyzed SNPs with a generalized linear model controlling for genotyping platform and genetic ancestry. The most significant associations were evaluated in independent cohorts.
Main Outcome Measures
Concordance of advanced AMD subtypes in sibling pairs and associations between SNPs with GA and CNV advanced AMD subtypes.
Results
The difference between the observed and expected proportion of siblings concordant for the same subtype of advanced AMD was different to a statistically significant degree (P=4.2 x 10−5) meaning that siblings of probands with CNV or GA are more likely to develop CNV or GA, respectively. In the analysis comparing participants with CNV to those with GA, we observed a statistically significant association at the ARMS2/HTRA1 locus [rs10490924, odds ratio (OR)=1.47, P=4.3 ×10−9] which was confirmed in the replication samples (OR=1.38, P=7.4 x 10−14 for combined discovery and replication analysis).
Conclusions
Whether a patient with AMD develops CNV vs. GA is determined in part by genetic variation. In this large GWAS meta-analysis and replication analysis, the ARMS2/HTRA1 locus confers increased risk for both advanced AMD subtypes but imparts greater risk for CNV than for GA. This locus explains a small proportion of the excess sibling correlation for advanced AMD subtype. Other loci were detected with suggestive associations which differ for advanced AMD subtypes and deserve follow-up in additional studies.
doi:10.1016/j.ophtha.2012.03.014
PMCID: PMC3899891  PMID: 22705344
5.  Polymorphisms in ARMS2/HTRA1 and Complement Genes and Age-Related Macular Degeneration in India: Findings from the INDEYE Study 
Purpose.
Association between genetic variants in complement factor H (CFH), factor B (CFB), component 2 (C2), and in the ARMS2/HTRA1 region with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) comes mainly from studies of European ancestry and case-control studies of late-stage disease. We investigated associations of both early and late AMD with these variants in a population-based study of people aged 60 years and older in India.
Methods.
Fundus images were graded using the Wisconsin Age-Related Maculopathy Grading System and participants assigned to one of four mutually exclusive stages based on the worse affected eye (0 = no AMD, 1–3 = early AMD, 4 = late AMD). Multinomial logistic regression was used to derive risk ratios (RR) accounting for sampling method and adjusting for age, sex, and study center.
Results.
Of 3569 participants, 53.2% had no signs of AMD, 45.6% had features of early AMD, and 1.2% had late AMD. CFH (rs1061170), C2 (rs547154), or CFB (rs438999) was not associated with early or late AMD. In the ARMS2 locus, rs10490924 was associated with both early (adjusted RR 1.22, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.13–1.33, P < 0.0001) and late AMD (adjusted RR 1.81, 95% CI: 1.15–2.86; P = 0.01); rs2672598 was associated only with early AMD (adjusted RR 1.12, 95% CI: 1.02–1.23; P = 0.02); rs10490923 was not associated with early or late AMD.
Conclusions.
Two variants in ARMS2/HTRA1 were associated with increased risk of early AMD, and for one of these, the increased risk was also evident for late AMD. The study provides new insights into the role of these variants in early stages of AMD in India.
We report results from a genetic association study of early AMD in an Indian population. Two variants in the ARMS/HTRA1 region were associated with early AMD but variants in C2, CFH, and CFB were not.
doi:10.1167/iovs.12-10073
PMCID: PMC3490538  PMID: 23060141
6.  Complement factor H genetic variant and age-related macular degeneration: effect size, modifiers and relationship to disease subtype 
Background Variation in the complement factor H gene (CFH) is associated with risk of late age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Previous studies have been case–control studies in populations of European ancestry with little differentiation in AMD subtype, and insufficient power to confirm or refute effect modification by smoking.
Methods To precisely quantify the association of the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP rs1061170, ‘Y402H’) with risk of AMD among studies with differing study designs, participant ancestry and AMD grade and to investigate effect modification by smoking, we report two unpublished genetic association studies (n = 2759) combined with data from 24 published studies (26 studies, 26 494 individuals, including 14 174 cases of AMD) of European ancestry, 10 of which provided individual-level data used to test gene–smoking interaction; and 16 published studies from non-European ancestry.
Results In individuals of European ancestry, there was a significant association between Y402H and late-AMD with a per-allele odds ratio (OR) of 2.27 [95% confidence interval (CI) 2.10–2.45; P = 1.1 x 10−161]. There was no evidence of effect modification by smoking (P = 0.75). The frequency of Y402H varied by ancestral origin and the association with AMD in non-Europeans was less clear, limited by paucity of studies.
Conclusion The Y402H variant confers a 2-fold higher risk of late-AMD per copy in individuals of European descent. This was stable to stratification by study design and AMD classification and not modified by smoking. The lack of association in non-Europeans requires further verification. These findings are of direct relevance for disease prediction. New research is needed to ascertain if differences in circulating levels, expression or activity of factor H protein explain the genetic association.
doi:10.1093/ije/dyr204
PMCID: PMC3304526  PMID: 22253316
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD); Complement factor H gene; meta-ananlysis
7.  Evidence of association of APOE with age-related macular degeneration - a pooled analysis of 15 studies 
Human mutation  2011;32(12):1407-1416.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of incurable visual impairment in high-income countries. Previous studies report inconsistent associations between AMD and apolipoprotein E (APOE), a lipid transport protein involved in low-density cholesterol modulation. Potential interaction between APOE and sex, and smoking status, has been reported. We present a pooled analysis (n=21,160) demonstrating associations between late AMD and APOε4 (OR=0.72 per haplotype; CI: 0.65–0.74; P=4.41×10−11) and APOε2 (OR=1.83 for homozygote carriers; CI: 1.04–3.23; P=0.04), following adjustment for age-group and sex within each study and smoking status. No evidence of interaction between APOE and sex or smoking was found. Ever smokers had significant increased risk relative to never smokers for both neovascular (OR=1.54; CI: 1.38–1.72; P=2.8×10−15) and atrophic (OR=1.38; CI: 1.18–1.61; P=3.37×10−5) AMD but not early AMD (OR=0.94; CI: 0.86–1.03; P=0.16), implicating smoking as a major contributing factor to disease progression from early signs to the visually disabling late forms. Extended haplotype analysis incorporating rs405509 did not identify additional risks beyondε2 and ε4 haplotypes. Our expanded analysis substantially improves our understanding of the association between the APOE locus and AMD. It further provides evidence supporting the role of cholesterol modulation, and low-density cholesterol specifically, in AMD disease etiology.
doi:10.1002/humu.21577
PMCID: PMC3217135  PMID: 21882290
age-related macular degeneration; AMD; apolipoprotein E; APOE; case-control association study
8.  Variations in Apolipoprotein E Frequency With Age in a Pooled Analysis of a Large Group of Older People 
American Journal of Epidemiology  2011;173(12):1357-1364.
Variation in the apolipoprotein E gene (APOE) has been reported to be associated with longevity in humans. The authors assessed the allelic distribution of APOE isoforms ε2, ε3, and ε4 among 10,623 participants from 15 case-control and cohort studies of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in populations of European ancestry (study dates ranged from 1990 to 2009). The authors included only the 10,623 control subjects from these studies who were classified as having no evidence of AMD, since variation within the APOE gene has previously been associated with AMD. In an analysis stratified by study center, gender, and smoking status, there was a decreasing frequency of the APOE ε4 isoform with increasing age (χ2 for trend = 14.9 (1 df); P = 0.0001), with a concomitant increase in the ε3 isoform (χ2 for trend = 11.3 (1 df); P = 0.001). The association with age was strongest in ε4 homozygotes; the frequency of ε4 homozygosity decreased from 2.7% for participants aged 60 years or less to 0.8% for those over age 85 years, while the proportion of participants with the ε3/ε4 genotype decreased from 26.8% to 17.5% across the same age range. Gender had no significant effect on the isoform frequencies. This study provides strong support for an association of the APOE gene with human longevity.
doi:10.1093/aje/kwr015
PMCID: PMC3145394  PMID: 21498624
aged; apolipoprotein E2; apolipoprotein E3; apolipoprotein E4; apolipoproteins E; longevity; meta-analysis; multicenter study
9.  EPHA2 Polymorphisms and Age-Related Cataract in India 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e33001.
Objective
We investigated whether previously reported single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of EPHA2 in European studies are associated with cataract in India.
Methods
We carried out a population-based genetic association study. We enumerated randomly sampled villages in two areas of north and south India to identify people aged 40 and over. Participants attended a clinical examination including lens photography and provided a blood sample for genotyping. Lens images were graded by the Lens Opacification Classification System (LOCS III). Cataract was defined as a LOCS III grade of nuclear ≥4, cortical ≥3, posterior sub-capsular (PSC) ≥2, or dense opacities or aphakia/pseudophakia in either eye. We genotyped SNPs rs3754334, rs7543472 and rs11260867 on genomic DNA extracted from peripheral blood leukocytes using TaqMan assays in an ABI 7900 real-time PCR. We used logistic regression with robust standard errors to examine the association between cataract and the EPHA2 SNPs, adjusting for age, sex and location.
Results
7418 participants had data on at least one of the SNPs investigated. Genotype frequencies of controls were in Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium (p>0.05). There was no association of rs3754334 with cataract or type of cataract. Minor allele homozygous genotypes of rs7543472 and rs11260867 compared to the major homozygote genotype were associated with cortical cataract, Odds ratio (OR) = 1.8, 95% Confidence Interval (CI) (1.1, 3.1) p = 0.03 and 2.9 (1.2, 7.1) p = 0.01 respectively, and with PSC cataract, OR = 1.5 (1.1, 2.2) p = 0.02 and 1.8 (0.9, 3.6) p = 0.07 respectively. There was no consistent association of SNPs with nuclear cataract or a combined variable of any type of cataract including operated cataract.
Conclusions
Our results in the Indian population agree with previous studies of the association of EPHA2 variants with cortical cataracts. We report new findings for the association with PSC which is particularly prevalent in Indians.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0033001
PMCID: PMC3297613  PMID: 22412971
11.  Prevalence and Risk Factors for Vitamin C Deficiency in North and South India: A Two Centre Population Based Study in People Aged 60 Years and Over 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(12):e28588.
Background
Studies from the UK and North America have reported vitamin C deficiency in around 1 in 5 men and 1 in 9 women in low income groups. There are few data on vitamin C deficiency in resource poor countries.
Objectives
To investigate the prevalence of vitamin C deficiency in India.
Design
We carried out a population-based cross-sectional survey in two areas of north and south India. Randomly sampled clusters were enumerated to identify people aged 60 and over. Participants (75% response rate) were interviewed for tobacco, alcohol, cooking fuel use, 24 hour diet recall and underwent anthropometry and blood collection. Vitamin C was measured using an enzyme-based assay in plasma stabilized with metaphosphoric acid. We categorised vitamin C status as deficient (<11 µmol/L), sub-optimal (11–28 µmol/L) and adequate (>28 µmol/L). We investigated factors associated with vitamin C deficiency using multivariable Poisson regression.
Results
The age, sex and season standardized prevalence of vitamin C deficiency was 73.9% (95% confidence Interval, CI 70.4,77.5) in 2668 people in north India and 45.7% (95% CI 42.5,48.9) in 2970 from south India. Only 10.8% in the north and 25.9% in the south met the criteria for adequate levels. Vitamin C deficiency varied by season, and was more prevalent in men, with increasing age, users of tobacco and biomass fuels, in those with anthropometric indicators of poor nutrition and with lower intakes of dietary vitamin C.
Conclusions
In poor communities, such as in our study, consideration needs to be given to measures to improve the consumption of vitamin C rich foods and to discourage the use of tobacco.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0028588
PMCID: PMC3232233  PMID: 22163038
12.  Inverse Association of Vitamin C with Cataract in Older People in India 
Ophthalmology  2011;118(10):1958-1965.e2.
Objective
To examine the association between vitamin C and cataract in the Indian setting.
Design
Population-based cross-sectional analytic study.
Participants
A total of 5638 people aged ≥60 years.
Methods
Enumeration of randomly sampled villages in 2 areas of north and south India to identify people aged ≥60 years. Participants were interviewed for socioeconomic and lifestyle factors (tobacco, alcohol, household cooking fuel, work, and diet); attended a clinical examination, including lens photography; and provided a blood sample for antioxidant analysis. Plasma vitamin C was measured using an enzyme-based assay in plasma stabilized with metaphosphoric acid, and other antioxidants were measured by reverse-phase high-pressure liquid chromatography.
Main Outcome Measures
Cataract and type of cataract were graded from digital lens images using the Lens Opacity Classification System III (LOCS III), and cataract was classified from the grade in the worse eye of ≥4 for nuclear cataract, ≥3 for cortical cataract, and ≥2 for posterior subcapsular cataract (PSC). Any cataract was defined as any unoperated or operated cataract.
Results
Of 7518 enumerated people, 5638 (75%) provided data on vitamin C, antioxidants, and potential confounders. Vitamin C was inversely associated with cataract (adjusted odds ratio [OR] for highest to lowest quartile = 0.61; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.51–0.74; P=1.1×10−6). Inclusion of other antioxidants in the model (lutein, zeaxanthin, retinol, β-carotene, and α-tocopherol) made only a small attenuation to the result (OR 0.68; 95% CI, 0.57–0.82; P < 0.0001). Similar results were seen with vitamin C by type of cataract: nuclear cataract (adjusted OR 0.66; CI, 0.54–0.80; P < 0.0001), cortical cataract (adjusted OR 0.70; CI, 0.54–0.90; P < 0.002), and PSC (adjusted OR 0.58; CI, 0.45–0.74; P < 0.00003). Lutein, zeaxanthin, and retinol were significantly inversely associated with cataract, but the associations were weaker and not consistently observed by type of cataract. Inverse associations were also observed for dietary vitamin C and cataract.
Conclusions
We found a strong association with vitamin C and cataract in a vitamin C–depleted population.
Financial Disclosure(s)
The author(s) have no proprietary or commercial interest in any materials discussed in this article.
doi:10.1016/j.ophtha.2011.03.016
PMCID: PMC3185206  PMID: 21705085
13.  Age-Related Macular Degeneration: Current Treatment and Future Options 
Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of visual impairment among older adults in the developed world. Epidemiological studies have revealed a number of genetic, ocular and environmental risk factors for this condition, which can be addressed by disease reduction strategies. We discuss the various treatment options for dry and exudative age-related macular degeneration available and explain how the recommended treatment depends on the exact type, location and extent of the degeneration. Currently, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) inhibition therapy is the best available treatment for exudative age-related macular degeneration but is limited by the need for repeated intravitreal injections. The current treatment regime is being refined through research on optimal treatment frequency and duration and type of anti-VEGF drug. Different modes of drug delivery are being developed and in the future other methods of VEGF inhibition may be used.
doi:10.1177/2040622311415895
PMCID: PMC3513889  PMID: 23251758
age-related macular degeneration; anti-VEGF; choroidal neovascularization
14.  Common variants near FRK/COL10A1 and VEGFA are associated with advanced age-related macular degeneration 
Human Molecular Genetics  2011;20(18):3699-3709.
Despite significant progress in the identification of genetic loci for age-related macular degeneration (AMD), not all of the heritability has been explained. To identify variants which contribute to the remaining genetic susceptibility, we performed the largest meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies to date for advanced AMD. We imputed 6 036 699 single-nucleotide polymorphisms with the 1000 Genomes Project reference genotypes on 2594 cases and 4134 controls with follow-up replication of top signals in 5640 cases and 52 174 controls. We identified two new common susceptibility alleles, rs1999930 on 6q21-q22.3 near FRK/COL10A1 [odds ratio (OR) 0.87; P = 1.1 × 10−8] and rs4711751 on 6p12 near VEGFA (OR 1.15; P = 8.7 × 10−9). In addition to the two novel loci, 10 previously reported loci in ARMS2/HTRA1 (rs10490924), CFH (rs1061170, and rs1410996), CFB (rs641153), C3 (rs2230199), C2 (rs9332739), CFI (rs10033900), LIPC (rs10468017), TIMP3 (rs9621532) and CETP (rs3764261) were confirmed with genome-wide significant signals in this large study. Loci in the recently reported genes ABCA1 and COL8A1 were also detected with suggestive evidence of association with advanced AMD. The novel variants identified in this study suggest that angiogenesis (VEGFA) and extracellular collagen matrix (FRK/COL10A1) pathways contribute to the development of advanced AMD.
doi:10.1093/hmg/ddr270
PMCID: PMC3159552  PMID: 21665990
15.  Prevalence of Cataract in an Older Population in India 
Ophthalmology  2011;118(2-19):272-278.e2.
Purpose
To describe the prevalence of cataract in older people in 2 areas of north and south India.
Design
Population-based, cross-sectional study.
Participants
Randomly sampled villages were enumerated to identify people aged ≥60 years. Of 7518 enumerated people, 78% participated in a hospital-based ophthalmic examination.
Methods
The examination included visual acuity measurement, dilatation, and anterior and posterior segment examination. Digital images of the lens were taken and graded by type and severity of opacity using the Lens Opacity Classification System III (LOCS III).
Main Outcome Measures
Age- and gender-standardized prevalence of cataract and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). We defined type of cataract based on the LOCS III grade in the worse eye of: ≥4 for nuclear cataract, ≥3 for cortical cataract, and ≥2 for posterior subcapsular cataract (PSC). Any unoperated cataract was based on these criteria or ungradable dense opacities. Any cataract was defined as any unoperated or operated cataract.
Results
The prevalence of unoperated cataract in people aged ≥60 was 58% in north India (95% CI, 56–60) and 53% (95% CI, 51–55) in south India (P = 0.01). Nuclear cataract was the most common type: 48% (95% CI, 46–50) in north India and 38% (95% CI, 37–40) in south India (P<0.0001); corresponding figures for PSC were 21% (95% CI, 20–23) and 17% (95% CI, 16–19; P = 0.003), respectively, and for cortical cataract 7.6% (95% CI, 7–9) and 10.2% (95% CI, 9–11; P<0.004). Bilateral aphakia/pseudophakia was slightly higher in the south (15.5%) than in the north (13.2%; P<0.03). The prevalence of any cataracts was similar in north (73.8%) and south India (71.8%). The prevalence of unoperated cataract increased with age and was higher in women than men (odds ratio [OR], 1.8). Aphakia/pseudophakia was also more common in women, either unilateral (OR, 1.2; P<0.02) or bilateral (OR, 1.3; P<0.002).
Conclusions
We found high rates of unoperated cataract in older people in north and south India. Posterior subcapsular cataract was more common than in western studies. Women had higher rates of cataract, which was not explained by differential access to surgery.
Financial Disclosure(s)
The authors have no proprietary or commercial interest in any of the materials discussed in this article.
doi:10.1016/j.ophtha.2010.05.020
PMCID: PMC3146699  PMID: 20801514
16.  Clinical risk factors for age-related macular degeneration: a systematic review and meta-analysis 
BMC Ophthalmology  2010;10:31.
Background
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness in Western countries. Numerous risk factors have been reported but the evidence and strength of association is variable. We aimed to identify those risk factors with strong levels of evidence which could be easily assessed by physicians or ophthalmologists to implement preventive interventions or address current behaviours.
Methods
A systematic review identified 18 prospective and cross-sectional studies and 6 case control studies involving 113,780 persons with 17,236 cases of late AMD that included an estimate of the association between late AMD and at least one of 16 pre-selected risk factors. Fixed-effects meta-analyses were conducted for each factor to combine odds ratio (OR) and/or relative risk (RR) outcomes across studies by study design. Overall raw point estimates of each risk factor and associated 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated.
Results
Increasing age, current cigarette smoking, previous cataract surgery, and a family history of AMD showed strong and consistent associations with late AMD. Risk factors with moderate and consistent associations were higher body mass index, history of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and higher plasma fibrinogen. Risk factors with weaker and inconsistent associations were gender, ethnicity, diabetes, iris colour, history of cerebrovascular disease, and serum total and HDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Conclusions
Smoking, previous cataract surgery and a family history of AMD are consistent risk factors for AMD. Cardiovascular risk factors are also associated with AMD. Knowledge of these risk factors that may be easily assessed by physicians and general ophthalmologists may assist in identification and appropriate referral of persons at risk of AMD.
doi:10.1186/1471-2415-10-31
PMCID: PMC3009619  PMID: 21144031
17.  An Ecological Correlation Study of Late Age-Related Macular Degeneration and the Complement Factor H Y402H Polymorphism 
Based on published data, this ecological correlation study showed evidence to support the hypothesis that variation in the risk allele frequency of the Y402H polymorphism across ethnicities explains variation in prevalence of late AMD when data on people of African ancestry are excluded.
Purpose.
To investigate whether variation in the distribution of the risk allele frequency of the Y402H single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) across various ethnicities and geographic regions reflects differences in the prevalence of late age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in those ethnicities.
Methods.
Published data were obtained via a systematic search. Study samples were grouped into clusters by ethnicity and geographic location and the Spearman correlation coefficient of the prevalence of late AMD and risk allele frequencies was calculated across clusters.
Results.
Across all ethnicities, AMD prevalence was seen to increase with age. Populations of European descent had both higher risk allele frequencies and prevalence of late AMD than did Japanese, Chinese, and Hispanic descendants. Results for African descendants were anomalous: although allele frequency was similar to that in European populations, the age-specific prevalence of late AMD was considerably lower. The correlation coefficient for the association between allele frequency and AMD prevalence was 0.40 (95% confidence interval [CI] = −0.36 to 0.84, P = 0.28) in all populations combined and 0.71 (95% CI = 0.02–0.94, P = 0.04) when people of African descent were excluded.
Conclusions.
Evidence was found at the population level to support a positive association between the Y204H risk allele and the prevalence of AMD after exclusion of studies undertaken on persons of African ancestry. Data in African, Middle Eastern, and South American populations are needed to provide a better understanding of the association of late AMD genetic risk across ethnicities.
doi:10.1167/iovs.09-4228
PMCID: PMC2868481  PMID: 20042653
18.  Formal and informal care utilisation amongst elderly persons with visual impairment 
The British Journal of Ophthalmology  2007;91(10):1279-1281.
Objective
To examine the determinants of formal and informal care utilisation amongst persons with age‐related macular degeneration (AMD).
Design
Cross‐sectional hospital‐based study.
Setting
Hospital eye clinic in Northern Ireland.
Participants
284 persons aged ⩾50 years.
Main outcome measures
Participants were questioned about their care, living arrangements, eyesight‐related ability to self‐care, and eyesight‐related need to be more careful whilst undertaking everyday tasks.
Results
The percentage of older persons receiving formal and informal care rose with the level of visual impairment. 34.9% and 37.3% of those with no visual impairment received formal and informal care, respectively, compared with 51.6% and 69.9% of those with moderate visual impairment and 55.6% and 88.9% of those with severe visual impairment. Three factors (age, best corrected distance visual acuity in the better eye and living alone) were significant predictors (p<0.05) of care utilisation. The likelihood of someone utilising formal care rose with increasing age, severity of visual impairment and living alone. There is an approximate one‐to‐one trade‐off between age and visual acuity such that a difference of one line of vision is equivalent to approximately 1 year of life to the affected individual as regards its impact on the probability of care utilisation.
Conclusions
Care utilisation is predicted by age, visual acuity in the better eye and living arrangement. These findings question the validity of the current practice of defining the need for statutory services on the basis of visual acuity alone. These data may have implications for cost utility analyses of new therapeutic developments in macular degeneration.
doi:10.1136/bjo.2006.113142
PMCID: PMC2000985  PMID: 17360732
care utilisation; age‐related macular degeneration; visual impairment
19.  Prevalence of Early and Late Age-Related Macular Degeneration in India: The INDEYE Study 
This large, two-center, population-based study provides estimates of the prevalence of age-related macular degeneration in India.
Purpose.
To estimate the prevalence of early and late age-related macular degeneration (AMD) in India.
Methods.
Of 7518 people aged 60 years and older identified from randomly sampled villages in North and South India, 5853 (78%) attended an eye examination including fundus photography. Fundus images were graded according to the Wisconsin Age-Related Maculopathy Grading System.
Results.
Fundus images were ungradable in 1587 people, mainly because of cataract. People 80 years of age and older were less likely to attend the eye examination and more likely to have ungradable images. For ages 60 to 79 years, the percent prevalence (95% confidence interval [CI]) were late AMD 1.2 (0.8–1.5); and early AMD: grade 1 (soft distinct drusen or pigmentary irregularities), 39.3 (37.2–41.5); grade 2 (soft distinct drusen with pigmentary irregularities or soft indistinct or reticular drusen), 6.7 (5.8–7.6); and grade 3 (soft indistinct or reticular drusen with pigmentary irregularities), 0.2 (0.1–0.4). For ages 80 and older, the respective percent prevalence was: late AMD, 2.5 (0.4–4.7); and early AMD: grade 1, 43.1(35.7–50.6); grade 2, 8.1 (4.3–12.0); and grade 3, 0.5 (0–1.5).
Conclusions.
The prevalence of early AMD (grades 1 and 2) is similar to that observed in Western populations, but grade 3 appears to be lower. The prevalence of late AMD is comparable to that in Western populations in the age group 60 to 79 years. It is likely that the prevalence in the 80 and older age group is underestimated.
doi:10.1167/iovs.09-4114
PMCID: PMC2868454  PMID: 19696177
20.  New treatments for neovascular acute macular degeneration 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2007;334(7588):269-270.
Drugs that inhibit vascular endothelial growth factor show real promise
doi:10.1136/bmj.39100.460671.BE
PMCID: PMC1796712  PMID: 17289688
21.  Complement Component 3: an assessment of association with AMD and analysis of gene-gene and gene-environment interactions in a Northern Irish cohort 
Molecular Vision  2010;16:194-199.
Purpose
A non-synonymous single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in complement component 3 has been shown to increase the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). We assess its effect on AMD risk in a Northern Irish sample, test for gene–gene and gene–environment interaction, and review a risk prediction model.
Methods
SNP rs2230199 was genotyped in 1,358 samples, which comprised 437 cases, 436 no-disease controls, and 485 participants randomly sampled from the Northern Ireland population. Allele frequencies were assessed in cases and controls. Logistic regression analysis was used to assess interaction and develop a risk prediction model.
Results
We report a minor allele frequency of 0.248 for rs2230199 in the population (n=485), 0.296 in cases (n=437), and 0.221 in controls (n=436; odds ratio [OR]=1.48; confidence interval [CI]: 1.19–1.85; p=0.0003). The significant association is retained following multivariate analysis with adjustment for age, smoking status, Complement Factor H (CFH), Age-Related Maculopathy Susceptibility 2 (ARMS2), Complement Component 2 (CC2), and Complement Factor B (CFB; OR=1.45; CI: 1.10–1.91; p=0.009). No evidence to support an interaction between any of the covariates within the regression model was found. The area under the receiver operator characteristic curve calculated for the fully adjusted model, including all variables, was 0.86 for late AMD.
Conclusions
Our study confirmed the association between Complement Component 3 (C3) and late-stage AMD. There was no evidence for an interaction with environmental exposures, nor did we find data to support a gene–gene effect.
PMCID: PMC2820106  PMID: 20157618
22.  Neovascular Age-Related Macular Degeneration Risk Based on CFH, LOC387715/HTRA1, and Smoking 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(12):e355.
Background
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the major cause of blindness in the elderly. Those with the neovascular end-stage of disease have irreversible loss of central vision. AMD is a complex disorder in which genetic and environmental factors play a role. Polymorphisms in the complement factor H (CFH) gene, LOC387715, and the HTRA1 promoter are strongly associated with AMD. Smoking also contributes to the etiology. We aimed to provide a model of disease risk based on these factors.
Methods and Findings
We genotyped polymorphisms in CFH and LOC387715/HTRA1 in a case–control study of 401 patients with neovascular AMD and 266 controls without signs of disease, and used the data to produce genetic risk scores for the European-descent population based on haplotypes at these loci and smoking history. CFH and LOC387715/HTRA1 haplotypes and smoking status exerted large effects on AMD susceptibility, enabling risk scores to be generated with appropriate weighting of these three factors. Five common haplotypes of CFH conferred a range of odds ratios (ORs) per copy from 1 to 4.17. Most of the effect of LOC387715/HTRA1 was mediated through one detrimental haplotype (carriage of one copy: OR 2.83; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.91–4.20), with homozygotes being at particularly high risk (OR 32.83; 95% CI 12.53–86.07). Patients with neovascular macular degeneration had considerably higher scores than those without disease, and risk of blinding AMD rose to 15.5% in the tenth of the population with highest predicted risk.
Conclusions
An individual's risk of developing AMD in old age can be predicted by combining haplotype data with smoking status. Until there is effective treatment for AMD, encouragement to avoid smoking in those at high genetic risk may be the best option. We estimate that total absence of smoking would have reduced the prevalence of severe AMD by 33%. Unless smoking habits change or preventative treatment becomes available, the prevalence of AMD will rise as a consequence of the increasing longevity of the population.
Anne Hughes and colleagues show that an individual's risk of developing age-related macular degeneration in old age can be predicted by combining haplotype data with smoking status.
Editors' Summary
Background.
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss in the elderly. The macula is the central region of the retina, the tissue at the back of the eye that converts light into electrical messages and sends them to the brain. In the commonest form of AMD—“dry” AMD—the light-sensitive cells in the macula gradually die. In “wet” or “neovascular” AMD (one in 10 cases of AMD, but responsible for 90% of severe AMD-related blindness), abnormal blood vessels grow below the macula. Fluid leaking out of these vessels dislodges and damages the macula, after which loss of vision occurs rapidly. Both forms of AMD destroy the sharp central vision that is needed for reading and driving, leaving only dim, blurred images or a black hole at the center of vision. Neither form can be cured but with wet AMD the loss of vision can sometimes be slowed or halted if caught early by destroying the new blood vessels with laser surgery or a technique called photodynamic therapy or by blocking their formation by injecting special drugs into the eye.
Why Was This Study Done?
No-one knows what causes AMD but factors that increase a person's risk of developing the disease include increasing age, smoking, being white, and a family history of AMD. Recently, researchers have identified several “polymorphisms” (inherited DNA sequence variations that are common within populations) that are associated with AMD. These polymorphisms are in the complement factor H gene (the scientific symbol for this gene is CFH) and in a gene region called LOC387715/HTRA1. It would be useful to be able to use these risk factors to identify those people at the highest risk of developing neovascular AMD before the disease damages their vision. In this study, the researchers have investigated the association between AMD and polymorphisms in CFH and LOC387715/HTRA1 in more depth. They have then used this new information to build a model of AMD risk that should allow physicians to identify individuals at high risk of developing neovascular AMD.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers catalogued polymorphisms in CFH and LOC387715/HTRA1 in several hundred people with and without neovascular AMD. From these data, they identified three haplotypes (sets of polymorphisms that are inherited as a unit; everyone inherits two copies of each haplotype, one from each parent) in CFH that were more common in people with AMD than in those without and two that were associated with a decreased risk of developing AMD. In LOC387715/HTRA1 they identified one particularly detrimental haplotype. Compared to people without this haplotype, people with one copy of the deleterious haplotype were three times as likely to develop neovascular AMD; people with two copies were thirty times as likely to develop AMD. Smoking history also had a large effect on susceptibility to AMD. The researchers then developed a simple AMD risk scoring system based on CFH and LOC387715/HTRA1haplotypes and smoking status. From this, they calculated that people with the lowest risk scores have a minimal risk of developing AMD whereas about 15% of people with the highest risk scores are likely to develop AMD.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that it is possible to predict an individual's risk of developing AMD in old age by examining a small number of haplotypes and asking about their smoking status. The model developed by the researchers needs to be validated in other groups of people and may have to be modified if other gene variants that affect the risk of AMD are identified. For now, the results of this research provide physicians with a way to identify those individuals at the highest genetic risk of developing AMD so that they can step up their efforts to persuade these people to avoid smoking. In the future, when effective long-term treatments for AMD become available, the scoring system could also help doctors decide which of their elderly patients should be monitored most intensively for the early signs of AMD so that they can be treated before their vision is irreversibly damaged.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0040355.
MedlinePlus provides links to information on macular degeneration and an encyclopedia page on macular degeneration (in English and Spanish)
Pages on the US National Institutes of Health NIH SeniorHealth site provides text and speech information about AMD
The US National Eye Institute and the UK Royal National Institute of Blind People also provide information about AMD
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0040355
PMCID: PMC2222948  PMID: 18162041
23.  Age related macular degeneration 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2006;333(7574):869-870.
doi:10.1136/bmj.39009.366736.80
PMCID: PMC1626307  PMID: 17068017
24.  Trends in provision of photodynamic therapy and clinician attitudes: a tracker survey of a new health technology 
Background
There has been debate about the cost-effectiveness of photodynamic therapy (PDT), a treatment for neovascular age-related macular degeneration. We have been monitoring trends for the provision of PDT in the UK National Health Service. The fourth annual 'tracker' survey took place as definitive National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidance was issued. We assessed trends in PDT provision up to the point of release of the NICE guidance and identified likely sources of pressure on ophthalmologists to provide PDT.
Methods
National postal questionnaire survey of clinicians with potential responsibility for PDT provision. The survey explored reported local provision, beliefs about the effectiveness of PDT and what sources of opinion might influence attitudes towards providing PDT.
Results
The response rate was 73% (111/150). Almost half of the surveyed ophthalmology units routinely provided PDT, as part of a trend of steady growth in provision. The proportion of respondents who believed that further proof of effectiveness was required has also declined despite the absence of any new substantial evidence. Attitudes towards providing PDT were positive, on average, and were more strongly associated with perceived social pressure from local colleagues than from other sources. Local colleagues were seen as being most approving of PDT.
Conclusion
Those responsible for implementing the NICE guidance need to address ophthalmologists' beliefs about the evidence of effectiveness for PDT and draw upon supportive local individuals or networks to enhance the credibility of the guidance.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-5-34
PMCID: PMC1142515  PMID: 15885142

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