Development of a Genotype Assay for Age-Related Macular Degeneration: The EYE-RISK Consortium

Ophthalmology. 2021 Nov;128(11):1604-1617. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2020.07.037. Epub 2020 Jul 25.


Purpose: To develop a genotype assay to assess associations with common and rare age-related macular degeneration (AMD) risk variants, to calculate an overall genetic risk score (GRS), and to identify potential misdiagnoses with inherited macular dystrophies that mimic AMD.

Design: Case-control study.

Participants: Individuals (n = 4740) from 5 European cohorts.

Methods: We designed single-molecule molecular inversion probes for target selection and used next generation sequencing to sequence 87 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), coding and splice-site regions of 10 AMD-(related) genes (ARMS2, C3, C9, CD46, CFB, CFH, CFI, HTRA1, TIMP3, and SLC16A8), and 3 genes that cause inherited macular dystrophies (ABCA4, CTNNA1, and PRPH2). Genetic risk scores for common AMD risk variants were calculated based on effect size and genotype of 52 AMD-associated variants. Frequency of rare variants was compared between late AMD patients and control individuals with logistic regression analysis.

Main outcome measures: Genetic risk score, association of genetic variants with AMD, and genotype-phenotype correlations.

Results: We observed high concordance rates between our platform and other genotyping platforms for the 69 successfully genotyped SNPs (>96%) and for the rare variants (>99%). We observed a higher GRS for patients with late AMD compared with patients with early/intermediate AMD (P < 0.001) and individuals without AMD (P < 0.001). A higher proportion of pathogenic variants in the CFH (odds ratio [OR] = 2.88; P = 0.006), CFI (OR = 4.45; P = 0.005), and C3 (OR = 6.56; P = 0.0003) genes was observed in late AMD patients compared with control individuals. In 9 patients, we identified pathogenic variants in the PRPH2, ABCA4, and CTNNA1 genes, which allowed reclassification of these patients as having inherited macular dystrophy.

Conclusions: This study reports a genotype assay for common and rare AMD genetic variants, which can identify individuals at intermediate to high genetic risk of late AMD and enables differential diagnosis of AMD-mimicking dystrophies. Our study supports sequencing of CFH, CFI, and C3 genes because they harbor rare high-risk variants. Carriers of these variants could be amendable for new treatments for AMD that currently are under development.

Keywords: Age-related macular degeneration; Genetic counseling; Genetic testing; Genetics.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Case-Control Studies
  • DNA / genetics*
  • Eye Proteins / genetics*
  • Eye Proteins / metabolism
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease*
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Macular Degeneration / diagnosis
  • Macular Degeneration / genetics*
  • Macular Degeneration / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phenotype
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide*
  • Risk Factors


  • Eye Proteins
  • DNA