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.