Practical guide to genetic screening for inherited eye diseases

Ther Adv Ophthalmol. 2020 Sep 22:12:2515841420954592. doi: 10.1177/2515841420954592. eCollection 2020 Jan-Dec.


Genetic eye diseases affect around one in 1000 people worldwide for which the molecular aetiology remains unknown in the majority. The identification of disease-causing gene variant(s) allows a better understanding of the disorder and its inheritance. There is now an approved retinal gene therapy for autosomal recessive RPE65-retinopathy, and numerous ocular gene/mutation-targeted clinical trials underway, highlighting the importance of establishing a genetic diagnosis so patients can fully access the latest research developments and treatment options. In this review, we will provide a practical guide to managing patients with these conditions including an overview of inheritance patterns, required pre- and post-test genetic counselling, different types of cytogenetic and genetic testing available, with a focus on next generation sequencing using targeted gene panels, whole exome and genome sequencing. We will expand on the pros and cons of each modality, variant interpretation and options for family planning for the patient and their family. With the advent of genomic medicine, genetic screening will soon become mainstream within all ophthalmology subspecialties for prevention of disease and provision of precision therapeutics.

Keywords: family planning; genetic counselling; genetic screening; inherited eye disease; next generation sequencing; whole exome sequencing and whole genome sequencing.

Publication types

  • Review