Background: Glaucoma is a sight-threatening disease affecting 3% of the population over the age of 50. Glaucoma is treatable, and severe vision loss can usually be prevented if diagnosis is made at an early stage. Genetic factors play a major role in the pathogenesis of the condition, and therefore, genetic testing to identify asymptomatic at-risk individuals is a promising strategy to reduce the prevalence of glaucoma blindness. Furthermore, unravelling genetic risk factors for glaucoma would also allow a better understanding of the pathogenesis of the condition and the development of new treatments.
Design: The Australian and New Zealand Registry of Advanced Glaucoma is a prospective study that aims to develop a large cohort of glaucoma cases with severe visual field loss to identify novel genetic risk factors for glaucoma blindness.
Methods: Clinical information and blood are collected from participants after referral by eye practitioners. Samples are collected across Australia and New Zealand using postage kits.
Participants: Our registry has recruited just over 2000 participants with advanced glaucoma, as well as secondary and developmental glaucomas.
Results: A positive family history of glaucoma is present in more than half of the advanced glaucoma cases and the age at diagnosis is significantly younger for participants with affected relatives, which reinforces the involvement of genetic factors in glaucoma.
Conclusions: With the collection of glaucoma cases recruited so far, our registry aims to identify novel glaucoma genetic risk factors to establish risk profiling of the population and protocols for genetic testing.
© 2011 The Authors. Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology © 2011 Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists.