The Ophthalmic Branch of the Gutenberg Health Study: Study Design, Cohort Profile and Self-Reported Diseases

PLoS One. 2015 Mar 16;10(3):e0120476. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0120476. eCollection 2015.

Abstract

Purpose: This paper describes the study design, methodology, cohort profile and self-reported diseases in the ophthalmological branch of the Gutenberg Health Study (GHS).

Methods: The GHS is an ongoing, prospective, interdisciplinary, single-center, population-based cohort study in Germany. The main goals of the ophthalmological section are to assess the prevalence and incidence of ocular diseases and to explore risk factors, genetic determinants and associations with systemic diseases and conditions. The eye examination at baseline included a medical history, self-reported eye diseases, visual acuity, refractive errors, intraocular pressure, visual field, pachymetry, keratometry, fundus photography and tear sampling. The 5-year follow-up visit additionally encompassed optical coherence tomography, anterior segment imaging and optical biometry. The general examination included anthropometry; blood pressure measurement; carotid artery ultrasound; electrocardiogram; echocardiography; spirometry; cognitive tests; questionnaires; assessment of mental conditions; and DNA, RNA, blood and urine sampling.

Results: Of 15,010 participants (aged 35-74 years at the time of inclusion), ocular data are available for 14,700 subjects (97.9%). The mean visual acuity (standard deviation), mean spherical equivalent, median decimal visual acuity, and mean intraocular pressure were 0.08 (0.17) logMar, -0.42 (2.43) diopters, 0.9 and 14.24 (2.79) mm Hg, respectively. The frequencies of self-reported strabismus, glaucoma, surgery for retinal detachment and retinal vascular occlusions were 2.7%, 2.3%, 0.2% and 0.4%, respectively.

Conclusions: The GHS is the most extensive dataset of ophthalmic diseases and conditions and their risk factors in Germany and one of the largest cohorts worldwide. This dataset will provide new insight in the epidemiology of ophthalmic diseases and related medical specialties.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Epidemiologic Research Design
  • Eye Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Germany
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Self Report

Grant support

The Gutenberg Health Study is funded through the government of Rheinland-Pfalz (“Stiftung Rheinland-Pfalz für Innovation”, contract AZ 961-386261/733), the research programs “Wissen schafft Zukunft” and “Center for Translational Vascular Biology (CTVB)” of the Johannes Gutenberg-University of Mainz, and its contract with Boehringer Ingelheim, PHILIPS Medical Systems and Novartis Pharma, including an unrestricted grant for the Gutenberg Health Study. PSW is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF 01EO1003). TP was supported by the NIHR Biomedical Research Centerat Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology. Funders were involved in the development of the study design as scientific consultants. However, they played no role in data collection, analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. Klinik Pallas provided support in the form of a salary for author RH, but did not have any additional role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. The specific roles of the authors are articulated in the author contributions section.