To automatically identify which spectral-domain optical coherence tomography (SD-OCT) scans will provide reliable automated layer segmentations for more accurate layer thickness analyses in population studies.
Six hundred ninety macular SD-OCT image volumes (6.0 × 6.0 × 2.3 mm3) were obtained from one eyes of 690 subjects (74.6 ± 9.7 [mean ± SD] years, 37.8% of males) randomly selected from the population-based Rotterdam Study. The dataset consisted of 420 OCT volumes with successful automated retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) segmentations obtained from our previously reported graph-based segmentation method and 270 volumes with failed segmentations. To evaluate the reliability of the layer segmentations, we have developed a new metric, segmentability index SI, which is obtained from a random forest regressor based on 12 features using OCT voxel intensities, edge-based costs, and on-surface costs. The SI was compared with well-known quality indices, quality index (QI), and maximum tissue contrast index (mTCI), using receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis.
The 95% confidence interval (CI) and the area under the curve (AUC) for the QI are 0.621 to 0.805 with AUC 0.713, for the mTCI 0.673 to 0.838 with AUC 0.756, and for the SI 0.784 to 0.920 with AUC 0.852. The SI AUC is significantly larger than either the QI or mTCI AUC (P < 0.01).
The segmentability index SI is well suited to identify SD-OCT scans for which successful automated intraretinal layer segmentations can be expected.
Interpreting the quantification of SD-OCT images requires the underlying segmentation to be reliable, but standard SD-OCT quality metrics do not predict which segmentations are reliable and which are not. The segmentability index SI presented in this study does allow reliable segmentations to be identified, which is important for more accurate layer thickness analyses in research and population studies.
segmentability index; spectral-domain optical coherence tomography; image quality; intraretinal layer segmentation; retinal nerve fiber layer
Myopia is the most common human eye disorder and it results from complex genetic and environmental causes. The rapidly increasing prevalence of myopia poses a major public health challenge. Here, the CREAM consortium performs a joint meta-analysis to test single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) main effects and SNP × education interaction effects on refractive error in 40,036 adults from 25 studies of European ancestry and 10,315 adults from 9 studies of Asian ancestry. In European ancestry individuals, we identify six novel loci (FAM150B-ACP1, LINC00340, FBN1, DIS3L-MAP2K1, ARID2-SNAT1 and SLC14A2) associated with refractive error. In Asian populations, three genome-wide significant loci AREG, GABRR1 and PDE10A also exhibit strong interactions with education (P<8.5 × 10−5), whereas the interactions are less evident in Europeans. The discovery of these loci represents an important advance in understanding how gene and environment interactions contribute to the heterogeneity of myopia.
This report by the Consortium for Refractive Error and Myopia uses gene-environment-wide interaction study (GEWIS) to identify genetic loci that affect environmental influence in myopia development, and identifies ethnic specific genetic loci that attribute to eye refractive errors.
The aim of the study was to investigate the relationship between serum 25(OH)D levels and axial length (AL) and myopia in 6-year-old children. A total of 2666 children aged 6 years participating in the birth-cohort study Generation R underwent a stepwise eye examination. First, presenting visual acuity (VA) and AL were performed. Second, automated cycloplegic refraction was measured if LogMAR VA > 0.1. Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] was determined from blood using liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry. Vitamin D related SNPs were determined with a SNP array; outdoor exposure was assessed by questionnaire. The relationships between 25(OH)D and AL or myopia were investigated using linear and logistic regression analysis. Average 25(OH)D concentration was 68.8 nmol/L (SD ± 27.5; range 4–211); average AL 22.35 mm (SD ± 0.7; range 19.2–25.3); and prevalence of myopia 2.3 % (n = 62). After adjustment for covariates, 25(OH)D concentration (per 25 nmol/L) was inversely associated with AL (β −0.043; P < 0.01), and after additional adjusting for time spent outdoors (β −0.038; P < 0.01). Associations were not different between European and non-European children (β −0.037 and β −0.039 respectively). Risk of myopia (per 25 nmol/L) was OR 0.65 (95 % CI 0.46–0.92). None of the 25(OH)D related SNPs showed an association with AL or myopia. Lower 25(OH)D concentration in serum was associated with longer AL and a higher risk of myopia in these young children. This effect appeared independent of outdoor exposure and may suggest a more direct role for 25(OH)D in myopia pathogenesis.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10654-016-0128-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Myopia; Vitamin D; Axial length; Children
Primary open-angle glaucoma is the most common optic neuropathy and an important cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. The optic nerve head or optic disc is divided in two parts: a central cup (without nerve fibers) surrounded by the neuroretinal rim (containing axons of the retinal ganglion cells). The International Glaucoma Genetics Consortium conducted a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies consisting of 17,248 individuals of European ancestry and 6,841 individuals of Asian ancestry. The outcomes of the genome-wide association studies were disc area and cup area. These specific measurements describe optic nerve morphology in another way than the vertical cup-disc ratio, which is a clinically used measurement, and may shed light on new glaucoma mechanisms. We identified 10 new loci associated with disc area (CDC42BPA, F5, DIRC3, RARB, ABI3BP, DCAF4L2, ELP4, TMTC2, NR2F2, and HORMAD2) and another 10 new loci associated with cup area (DHRS3, TRIB2, EFEMP1, FLNB, FAM101, DDHD1, ASB7, KPNB1, BCAS3, and TRIOBP). The new genes participate in a number of pathways and future work is likely to identify more functions related to the pathogenesis of glaucoma.
GWAS; disc area; cup area; glaucoma
To evaluate the validity of a novel fully automated three-dimensional (3D) method capable of segmenting the choroid from two different optical coherence tomography scanners: swept-source OCT (SS-OCT) and spectral-domain OCT (SD-OCT).
One hundred eight subjects were imaged using SS-OCT and SD-OCT. A 3D method was used to segment the choroid and quantify the choroidal thickness along each A-scan. The segmented choroidal posterior boundary was evaluated by comparing to manual segmentation. Differences were assessed to test the agreement between segmentation results of the same subject. Choroidal thickness was defined as the Euclidian distance between Bruch's membrane and the choroidal posterior boundary, and reproducibility was analyzed using automatically and manually determined choroidal thicknesses.
For SS-OCT, the average choroidal thickness of the entire 6- by 6-mm2 macular region was 219.5 μm (95% confidence interval [CI], 204.9–234.2 μm), and for SD-OCT it was 209.5 μm (95% CI, 197.9–221.0 μm). The agreement between automated and manual segmentations was high: Average relative difference was less than 5 μm, and average absolute difference was less than 15 μm. Reproducibility of choroidal thickness between repeated SS-OCT scans was high (coefficient of variation [CV] of 3.3%, intraclass correlation coefficient [ICC] of 0.98), and differences between SS-OCT and SD-OCT results were small (CV of 11.0%, ICC of 0.73).
We have developed a fully automated 3D method for segmenting the choroid and quantifying choroidal thickness along each A-scan. The method yielded high validity. Our method can be used reliably to study local choroidal changes and may improve the diagnosis and management of patients with ocular diseases in which the choroid is affected.
The assessment of regional choroidal changes is of great interest. We show high validity for a fully automated and three-dimensional, highly reproducible method for segmentation and quantification of choroidal thickness of each A-scan in swept-source and spectral-domain OCT images.
choroid; automated segmentation; quantification; swept-source OCT; spectral-domain OCT
To describe associations of serum lipid levels and lipid pathway genes to the incidence of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Three population-based cohorts.
6950 participants from the Beaver Dam Eye Study (BDES), Blue Mountains Eye Study (BMES) and Rotterdam Study (RS).
Participants were followed over 20 years and examined at 5-year intervals. Hazard ratios (HRs) associated with lipid levels per standard deviation above the mean or associated with each additional risk allele for each lipid pathway gene were calculated using random-effects inverse-weighted meta-analysis models, adjusting for known AMD risk factors.
Main Outcome Measures
Incidence of AMD.
The average 5-year incidences of early AMD were 8.1%, 15.1%, and 13.0% in the BDES, BMES, and RS, respectively. Substantial heterogeneity in the effect of cholesterol and lipid pathway genes on the incidence and progression of AMD was evident when the data from the three studies were combined in meta-analysis. After correction for multiple comparisons, we did not find a statistically significant association between any of the cholesterol measures, statin use, or serum lipid genes and any of the AMD outcomes in the meta-analysis.
In a meta-analysis, there were no associations of cholesterol measures, history of statin use, or lipid pathway genes to the incidence and progression of AMD. These findings add to inconsistencies in earlier reports from our studies and others showing weak associations, no associations, or inverse associations of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and total cholesterol with AMD.
To investigate whether myopia is becoming more common across Europe and explore whether increasing education levels, an important environmental risk factor for myopia, might explain any temporal trend.
Meta-analysis of population-based, cross-sectional studies from the European Eye Epidemiology (E3) Consortium.
The E3 Consortium is a collaborative network of epidemiological studies of common eye diseases in adults across Europe. Refractive data were available for 61 946 participants from 15 population-based studies performed between 1990 and 2013; participants had a range of median ages from 44 to 78 years.
Noncycloplegic refraction, year of birth, and highest educational level achieved were obtained for all participants. Myopia was defined as a mean spherical equivalent ≤−0.75 diopters. A random-effects meta-analysis of age-specific myopia prevalence was performed, with sequential analyses stratified by year of birth and highest level of educational attainment.
Main Outcome Measures
Variation in age-specific myopia prevalence for differing years of birth and educational level.
There was a significant cohort effect for increasing myopia prevalence across more recent birth decades; age-standardized myopia prevalence increased from 17.8% (95% confidence interval [CI], 17.6–18.1) to 23.5% (95% CI, 23.2–23.7) in those born between 1910 and 1939 compared with 1940 and 1979 (P = 0.03). Education was significantly associated with myopia; for those completing primary, secondary, and higher education, the age-standardized prevalences were 25.4% (CI, 25.0–25.8), 29.1% (CI, 28.8–29.5), and 36.6% (CI, 36.1–37.2), respectively. Although more recent birth cohorts were more educated, this did not fully explain the cohort effect. Compared with the reference risk of participants born in the 1920s with only primary education, higher education or being born in the 1960s doubled the myopia prevalence ratio–2.43 (CI, 1.26–4.17) and 2.62 (CI, 1.31–5.00), respectively—whereas individuals born in the 1960s and completing higher education had approximately 4 times the reference risk: a prevalence ratio of 3.76 (CI, 2.21–6.57).
Myopia is becoming more common in Europe; although education levels have increased and are associated with myopia, higher education seems to be an additive rather than explanatory factor. Increasing levels of myopia carry significant clinical and economic implications, with more people at risk of the sight-threatening complications associated with high myopia.
CI, confidence interval; D, diopters; E3, European Eye Epidemiology
We determined the glaucoma screening performance of regional optical coherence tomography (OCT) layer thickness measurements in the peripapillary and macular region, in a population-based setting.
Subjects (n = 1224) in the Rotterdam Study underwent visual field testing (Humphrey Field Analyzer) and OCT of the macula and optic nerve head (Topcon 3-D OCT-1000). We determined the mean thicknesses of the retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL), retinal ganglion cell layer (RGCL), and inner plexiform layer for regions-of-interest; thus, defining a series of OCT parameters, using the Iowa Reference Algorithms. Reference standard was the presence of glaucomatous visual field loss (GVFL); controls were subjects without GVFL, an intraocular pressure (IOP) of 21 mm Hg or less, and no positive family history for glaucoma. We calculated the area under the receiver operating characteristics curve (AUCs) and the sensitivity at 97.5% specificity for each parameter.
After excluding 23 subjects with an IOP > 21 mm Hg and 73 subjects with a positive family history for glaucoma, there were 1087 controls and 41 glaucoma cases. Mean RGCL thickness in the inferior half of the macular region showed the highest AUC (0.85; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.77–0.92) and sensitivity (53.7%; 95% CI, 38.7–68.0%). The mean thickness of the peripapillary RNFL had an AUC of 0.77 (95% CI, 0.69–0.85) and a sensitivity of 24.4% (95% CI, 13.7–39.5%).
Macular RGCL loss is at least as common as peripapillary RNFL abnormalities in population-based glaucoma cases. Screening for glaucoma using OCT-derived regional thickness identifies approximately half of those cases of glaucoma as diagnosed by perimetry.
In this population-based study, macular damage was the most common OCT finding in cases with glaucomatous visual field loss. Half of the cases were missed on OCT, reassuring the need of functional testing in glaucoma.
OCT; retinal thickness measurement; Iowa Reference Algorithms; population-based evaluation
The excess risk of bilateral visual impairment (BVI; bilateral visual acuity <0.5) among individuals with amblyopia is an argument for screening for amblyopia, but data are scarce.
The risk was estimated by determining the incidence of BVI in the Rotterdam Study, a population‐based cohort of subjects aged 55 years or over (n = 5220), including 192 individuals with amblyopia (3.7%). Using a multistate lifetable, the lifetime risk and excess period spent with BVI were determined.
The relative risk of BVI for amblyopes was 2.6 (95% confidence interval 1.4–4.5). For individuals with amblyopia, the lifetime risk of BVI was 18%, whereas they lived on average 7.2 years with BVI. For non‐amblyopic individuals, these figures were 10% and 6.7 years, respectively.
Amblyopia nearly doubles the lifetime risk of BVI and affected individuals spent an extra six months with BVI. This study provides data for future cost‐effectiveness analyses.
amblyopia; lifetime risk; visual impairment
In animal models, lack of thyroid hormone is associated with cone photoreceptor preservation, while administration of high doses of active thyroid hormone leads to deterioration. The association between thyroid function and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) has not been investigated in the general population.
Participants of age ≥55 years from the Rotterdam Study with thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and/or free thyroxine (FT4) measurements and AMD assessment were included. We conducted age- and sex-adjusted Cox proportional hazards models to explore the association of TSH or FT4 with AMD, in the full range and in those with TSH (0.4-4.0 mIU/L) and/or FT4 in normal range (11–25 pmol/L). Cox proportional hazards models were performed for the association of TSH or FT4 with retinal pigment alterations (RPA), as an early marker of retinal changes. Multivariable models additionally included cardiovascular risk factors and thyroid peroxidase antibodies positivity. We also performed stratification by age and sex. A bidirectional look-up in genome-wide association study (GWAS) data for thyroid parameters and AMD was performed. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that are significantly associated with both phenotypes were identified.
We included 5,573 participants with a median follow-up of 6.9 years (interquartile range 4.4-10.8 years). During follow-up 805 people developed AMD. TSH levels were not associated with increased risk of AMD. Within normal range of FT4, participants in the highest FT4 quintile had a 1.34-fold increased risk of developing AMD, compared to individuals in the middle group (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.07-1.66). Higher FT4 values in the full range were associated with a higher risk of AMD (hazard ratio 1.04, CI, 1.01-1.06 per 1 pmol/L increase). Higher FT4 levels were similarly associated with a higher risk of RPA. Restricting analyses to euthyroid individuals, additional multivariable models, and stratification did not change estimates. We found a SNP (rs943080) in the VEGF-A gene, associated with AMD, to be significant in the TSH GWAS (P = 1.2 x 10−4). Adding this SNP to multivariable models did not change estimates.
Higher FT4 values are associated with increased risk of AMD - even in euthyroid individuals - and increased risk of RPA. Our data suggest an important role of thyroid hormone in pathways leading to AMD.
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Thyroid hormone; Thyroid function; AMD; Age-related macular degeneration
Elevated intraocular pressure (IOP) is an important risk factor in developing glaucoma and IOP variability may herald glaucomatous development or progression. We report the results of a genome-wide association study meta-analysis of 18 population cohorts from the International Glaucoma Genetics Consortium (IGGC), comprising 35,296 multiethnic participants for IOP. We confirm genetic association of known loci for IOP and primary open angle glaucoma (POAG) and identify four new IOP loci located on chromosome 3q25.31 within the FNDC3B gene (p=4.19×10−08 for rs6445055), two on chromosome 9 (p=2.80×10−11 for rs2472493 near ABCA1 and p=6.39×10−11 for rs8176693 within ABO) and one on chromosome 11p11.2 (best p=1.04×10−11 for rs747782). Separate meta-analyses of four independent POAG cohorts, totaling 4,284 cases and 95,560 controls, show that three of these IOP loci are also associated with POAG.
To estimate the prevalence of refractive error in adults across Europe. Refractive data (mean spherical equivalent) collected between 1990 and 2013 from fifteen population-based cohort and cross-sectional studies of the European Eye Epidemiology (E3) Consortium were combined in a random effects meta-analysis stratified by 5-year age intervals and gender. Participants were excluded if they were identified as having had cataract surgery, retinal detachment, refractive surgery or other factors that might influence refraction. Estimates of refractive error prevalence were obtained including the following classifications: myopia ≤−0.75 diopters (D), high myopia ≤−6D, hyperopia ≥1D and astigmatism ≥1D. Meta-analysis of refractive error was performed for 61,946 individuals from fifteen studies with median age ranging from 44 to 81 and minimal ethnic variation (98 % European ancestry). The age-standardised prevalences (using the 2010 European Standard Population, limited to those ≥25 and <90 years old) were: myopia 30.6 % [95 % confidence interval (CI) 30.4–30.9], high myopia 2.7 % (95 % CI 2.69–2.73), hyperopia 25.2 % (95 % CI 25.0–25.4) and astigmatism 23.9 % (95 % CI 23.7–24.1). Age-specific estimates revealed a high prevalence of myopia in younger participants [47.2 % (CI 41.8–52.5) in 25–29 years-olds]. Refractive error affects just over a half of European adults. The greatest burden of refractive error is due to myopia, with high prevalence rates in young adults. Using the 2010 European population estimates, we estimate there are 227.2 million people with myopia across Europe.
Electronic supplementary material
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Refractive error; Myopia; Epidemiology; Prevalence; Consortium
Prediction models for age-related macular degeneration (AMD) based on case-control studies have a tendency to overestimate risks. The aim of this study is to develop a prediction model for late AMD based on data from population-based studies.
Three population-based studies: the Rotterdam Study (RS), the Beaver Dam Eye Study (BDES), and the Blue Mountains Eye Study (BMES) from the Three Continent AMD Consortium (3CC).
People (n = 10106) with gradable fundus photographs, genotype data, and follow-up data without late AMD at baseline.
Features of AMD were graded on fundus photographs using the 3CC AMD severity scale. Associations with known genetic and environmental AMD risk factors were tested using Cox proportional hazard analysis. In the RS, the prediction of AMD was estimated for multivariate models by area under receiver operating characteristic curves (AUCs). The best model was validated in the BDES and BMES, and associations of variables were re-estimated in the pooled data set. Beta coefficients were used to construct a risk score, and risk of incident late AMD was calculated using Cox proportional hazard analysis. Cumulative incident risks were estimated using Kaplan–Meier product-limit analysis.
Main Outcome Measures
Incident late AMD determined per visit during a median follow-up period of 11.1 years with a total of 4 to 5 visits.
Overall, 363 participants developed incident late AMD, 3378 participants developed early AMD, and 6365 participants remained free of any AMD. The highest AUC was achieved with a model including age, sex, 26 single nucleotide polymorphisms in AMD risk genes, smoking, body mass index, and baseline AMD phenotype. The AUC of this model was 0.88 in the RS, 0.85 in the BDES and BMES at validation, and 0.87 in the pooled analysis. Individuals with low-risk scores had a hazard ratio (HR) of 0.02 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.01–0.04) to develop late AMD, and individuals with high-risk scores had an HR of 22.0 (95% CI, 15.2–31.8). Cumulative risk of incident late AMD ranged from virtually 0 to more than 65% for those with the highest risk scores.
Our prediction model is robust and distinguishes well between those who will develop late AMD and those who will not. Estimated risks were lower in these population-based studies than in previous case-control studies.
Glaucoma is characterized by irreversible optic nerve degeneration and is the most frequent cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. Here, the International Glaucoma Genetics Consortium conducts a meta-analysis of genome-wide association studies of vertical cup-disc ratio (VCDR), an important disease-related optic nerve parameter. In 21,094 individuals of European ancestry and 6,784 individuals of Asian ancestry, we identify 10 new loci associated with variation in VCDR. In a separate risk-score analysis of five case-control studies, Caucasians in the highest quintile have a 2.5-fold increased risk of primary open-angle glaucoma as compared with those in the lowest quintile. This study has more than doubled the known loci associated with optic disc cupping and will allow greater understanding of mechanisms involved in this common blinding condition.
Glaucoma is the most common cause of irreversible blindness worldwide. Here, the authors carry out a large meta-analysis of genetic data from individuals of European and Asian ancestry and identify 10 new loci associated with vertical cup-disc ratio, a key factor in the clinical assessment of patients with glaucoma.
Refractive error (RE) is a complex, multifactorial disorder characterized by a mismatch between the optical power of the eye and its axial length that causes object images to be focused off the retina. The two major subtypes of RE are myopia (nearsightedness) and hyperopia (farsightedness), which represent opposite ends of the distribution of the quantitative measure of spherical refraction. We performed a fixed effects meta-analysis of genome-wide association results of myopia and hyperopia from 9 studies of European-derived populations: AREDS, KORA, FES, OGP-Talana, MESA, RSI, RSII, RSIII and ERF. One genome-wide significant region was observed for myopia, corresponding to a previously identified myopia locus on 8q12 (p = 1.25×10−8), which has been reported by Kiefer et al. as significantly associated with myopia age at onset and Verhoeven et al. as significantly associated to mean spherical-equivalent (MSE) refractive error. We observed two genome-wide significant associations with hyperopia. These regions overlapped with loci on 15q14 (minimum p value = 9.11×10−11) and 8q12 (minimum p value 1.82×10−11) previously reported for MSE and myopia age at onset. We also used an intermarker linkage- disequilibrium-based method for calculating the effective number of tests in targeted regional replication analyses. We analyzed myopia (which represents the closest phenotype in our data to the one used by Kiefer et al.) and showed replication of 10 additional loci associated with myopia previously reported by Kiefer et al. This is the first replication of these loci using myopia as the trait under analysis. “Replication-level” association was also seen between hyperopia and 12 of Kiefer et al.'s published loci. For the loci that show evidence of association to both myopia and hyperopia, the estimated effect of the risk alleles were in opposite directions for the two traits. This suggests that these loci are important contributors to variation of refractive error across the distribution.
Myopia and hyperopia are at opposite ends of the continuum of refraction, the measure of the eye’s ability to focus light, which is an important cause of visual impairment (when aberrant) and is a highly heritable trait. We conducted a genome-wide association study for refractive error in 4,270 individuals from the TwinsUK cohort. We identified SNPs on 15q25 associated with refractive error (rs8027411, P = 7.91 × 10−8). We replicated this association in six adult cohorts of European ancestry with a combined 13,414 individuals (combined P = 2.07 × 10−9). This locus overlaps the transcription initiation site of RASGRF1, which is highly expressed in neurons and retina and has previously been implicated in retinal function and memory consolidation. Rasgrf1−/− mice show a heavier average crystalline lens (P = 0.001). The identification of a susceptibility locus for refractive error on 15q25 will be important in characterizing the molecular mechanism responsible for the most common cause of visual impairment.
Refractive errors are the most common ocular disorders worldwide and may lead to blindness. Although this trait is highly heritable, identification of susceptibility genes has been challenging. We conducted a genome-wide association study for refractive error in 5,328 individuals from a Dutch population-based study with replication in four independent cohorts (combined 10,280 individuals in the replication stage). We identified a significant association at chromosome 15q14 (rs634990, P = 2.21 × 10−14). The odds ratio of myopia compared to hyperopia for the minor allele (minor allele frequency = 0.47) was 1.41 (95% CI 1.16–1.70) for individuals heterozygous for the allele and 1.83 (95% CI 1.42–2.36) for individuals homozygous for the allele. The associated locus is near two genes that are expressed in the retina, GJD2 and ACTC1, and appears to harbor regulatory elements which may influence transcription of these genes. Our data suggest that common variants at 15q14 influence susceptibility for refractive errors in the general population.
Visual refractive errors (REs) are complex genetic traits with a largely unknown etiology. To date, genome-wide association studies (GWASs) of moderate size have identified several novel risk markers for RE, measured here as mean spherical equivalent (MSE). We performed a GWAS using a total of 7280 samples from five cohorts: the Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS); the KORA study (‘Cooperative Health Research in the Region of Augsburg’); the Framingham Eye Study (FES); the Ogliastra Genetic Park-Talana (OGP-Talana) Study and the Multiethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Genotyping was performed on Illumina and Affymetrix platforms with additional markers imputed to the HapMap II reference panel. We identified a new genome-wide significant locus on chromosome 16 (rs10500355, P = 3.9 × 10−9) in a combined discovery and replication set (26 953 samples). This single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) is located within the RBFOX1 gene which is a neuron-specific splicing factor regulating a wide range of alternative splicing events implicated in neuronal development and maturation, including transcription factors, other splicing factors and synaptic proteins.
Glaucoma is a major cause of blindness in the world. To date, common genetic variants associated with glaucoma only explain a small proportion of its heritability. We performed a genome-wide association study of intra-ocular pressure (IOP), an underlying endophenotype for glaucoma. The discovery phase of the study was carried out in the TwinsUK cohort (N = 2774) analyzing association between IOP and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) imputed to HapMap2. The results were validated in 12 independent replication cohorts of European ancestry (combined N = 22 789) that were a part of the International Glaucoma Genetics Consortium. Expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) analyses of the significantly associated SNPs were performed using data from the Multiple Tissue Human Expression Resource (MuTHER) Study. In the TwinsUK cohort, IOP was significantly associated with a number of SNPs at 9q33.3 (P = 3.48 × 10−8 for rs2286885, the most significantly associated SNP at this locus), within the genomic sequence of the FAM125B gene. Independent replication in a composite panel of 12 cohorts revealed consistent direction of effect and significant association (P = 0.003, for fixed-effect meta-analysis). Suggestive evidence for an eQTL effect of rs2286885 was observed for one of the probes targeting the coding region of the FAM125B gene. This gene codes for a component of a membrane complex involved in vesicular trafficking process, a function similar to that of the Caveolin genes (CAV1 and CAV2) which have previously been associated with primary open-angle glaucoma. This study suggests a novel association between SNPs in FAM125B and IOP in the TwinsUK cohort, though further studies to elucidate the functional role of this gene in glaucoma are necessary.
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.
Sibling correlation study and genome-wide association study (GWAS)
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.
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.
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).
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.
Myopia is a complex inherited ocular trait resulting from an interplay of genes and environmental factors, most of which are currently unknown. In two independent population-based cohorts consisting of 5,256 and 3,938 individuals from European descent, we tested for biological interaction between genetic predisposition and level of education on the risk of myopia. A genetic risk score was calculated based on 26 myopia-associated single nucleotide polymorphisms recently discovered by the Consortium for Refractive Error and Myopia. Educational level was obtained by questionnaire and categorized into primary, intermediate, and higher education. Refractive error was measured during a standardized ophthalmological examination. Biological interaction was assessed by calculation of the synergy index. Individuals at high genetic risk in combination with university-level education had a remarkably high risk of myopia (OR 51.3; 95 % CI 18.5–142.6), while those at high genetic risk with only primary schooling were at a much lower increased risk of myopia (OR 7.2, 95 % CI 3.1–17.0). The combined effect of genetic predisposition and education on the risk of myopia was far higher than the sum of these two effects (synergy index 4.2, 95 % CI 1.9–9.5). This epidemiological study provides evidence of a gene-environment interaction in which an individual’s genetic risk of myopia is significantly affected by his or her educational level.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10654-013-9856-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Myopia; Refractive error; GxE; Gene-environment; Environmental factors
Refractive error is the most common eye disorder worldwide, and a prominent cause of blindness. Myopia affects over 30% of Western populations, and up to 80% of Asians. The CREAM consortium conducted genome-wide meta-analyses including 37,382 individuals from 27 studies of European ancestry, and 8,376 from 5 Asian cohorts. We identified 16 new loci for refractive error in subjects of European ancestry, of which 8 were shared with Asians. Combined analysis revealed 8 additional loci. The new loci include genes with functions in neurotransmission (GRIA4), ion channels (KCNQ5), retinoic acid metabolism (RDH5), extracellular matrix remodeling (LAMA2, BMP2), and eye development (SIX6, PRSS56). We also confirmed previously reported associations with GJD2 and RASGRF1. Risk score analysis using associated SNPs showed a tenfold increased risk of myopia for subjects with the highest genetic load. Our results, accumulated across independent multi-ethnic studies, considerably advance understanding of mechanisms involved in refractive error and myopia.
Astigmatism is a common refractive error that reduces vision, where the curvature and refractive power of the cornea in one meridian are less than those of the perpendicular axis. It is a complex trait likely to be influenced by both genetic and environmental factors. Twin studies of astigmatism have found approximately 60% of phenotypic variance is explained by genetic factors. This study aimed to identify susceptibility loci for astigmatism.
We performed a meta-analysis of seven genome-wide association studies that included 22,100 individuals of European descent, where astigmatism was defined as the number of diopters of cylinder prescription, using fixed effect inverse variance-weighted methods.
A susceptibility locus was identified with lead single nucleotide polymorphism rs3771395 on chromosome 2p13.3 (meta-analysis, P = 1.97 × 10−7) in the VAX2 gene. VAX2 plays an important role in the development of the dorsoventral axis of the eye. Animal studies have shown a gradient in astigmatism along the vertical plane, with corresponding changes in refraction, particularly in the ventral field.
This finding advances the understanding of refractive error, and provides new potential pathways to be evaluated with regard to the development of astigmatism.
We identified a new susceptibility locus in the VAX2 gene, which is involved in the development of the ventral eye. This finding may allow new insights into astigmatism and advance the understanding of refractive error.
To investigate the relation between retinopathy and the risk of dementia.
We investigated the associations between retinopathy and dementia and its subtypes Alzheimer disease (AD) and vascular dementia both cross-sectionally and prospectively in the Rotterdam Study, a large population-based cohort study. Digitized retinal images were available for 195 participants with prevalent dementia and 6,078 participants without dementia at baseline (1990–1993). Participants were reexamined in 1993–1994, 1997–1999, and 2002–2004 and were continuously monitored for development of dementia until January 1, 2007. Retinopathy was graded on fundus photographs and was defined as the presence of one or more dot/blot hemorrhages, microaneurysms, cotton wool spots, or evidence of laser treatment for retinopathy.
Retinopathy was associated with prevalent dementia (age and sex-adjusted odds ratio 2.04, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.34–3.09). Results were similar for AD and vascular dementia. During a mean follow-up of 11.4 years, 735 participants developed incident dementia, of whom 583 had AD and 80 had vascular dementia. There was no association of retinopathy at baseline with the risk of incident dementia during follow-up (age- and sex-adjusted hazard ratio 1.15, 95% CI 0.88–1.48) or the risk of incident AD or vascular dementia.
Retinopathy is more prevalent in persons with dementia but is not associated with an increased risk of dementia over time.
Narrow arterioles in the retina have been shown to predict hypertension as well as other vascular diseases, likely through an increase in the peripheral resistance of the microcirculatory flow. In this study, we performed a genome-wide association study in 18,722 unrelated individuals of European ancestry from the Cohorts for Heart and Aging Research in Genomic Epidemiology consortium and the Blue Mountain Eye Study, to identify genetic determinants associated with variations in retinal arteriolar caliber. Retinal vascular calibers were measured on digitized retinal photographs using a standardized protocol. One variant (rs2194025 on chromosome 5q14 near the myocyte enhancer factor 2C MEF2C gene) was associated with retinal arteriolar caliber in the meta-analysis of the discovery cohorts at genome-wide significance of P-value <5×10−8. This variant was replicated in an additional 3,939 individuals of European ancestry from the Australian Twins Study and Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (rs2194025, P-value = 2.11×10−12 in combined meta-analysis of discovery and replication cohorts). In independent studies of modest sample sizes, no significant association was found between this variant and clinical outcomes including coronary artery disease, stroke, myocardial infarction or hypertension. In conclusion, we found one novel loci which underlie genetic variation in microvasculature which may be relevant to vascular disease. The relevance of these findings to clinical outcomes remains to be determined.