BACKGROUND: Early detection of glaucoma is paramount to maintain patients' eyesight, however glaucomatous vision loss tends to begin in the periphery with up to 50% of patients unaware they are affected. Because glaucomatous vision loss is permanent, screening appears attractive, but currently is not cost-effective. Therefore we aim to investigate the utility of genetic pre-screening for glaucoma in a population-based setting, called EyeLife.
METHODS: EyeLife adopts a double blind prospective design with contrasting groups. Selected participants (n = 1600) from the Lifelines cohort are 55 years of age or older, and of either the highest or lowest 20% of the genetic risk distribution for glaucoma. We obtained a highly curated list of genetic variants from the literature to obtain each participants' genetic risk for glaucoma. Participants will undergo comprehensive ophthalmic screening. The primary outcome is the relative risk of glaucoma given a high genetic risk compared to a low genetic risk.
DISCUSSION: If genetic pre-screening is successful, it will increase the yield of a glaucoma screening program by focusing on high-risk individuals. This, in turn, may improve long-term visual health of middle-aged and elderly people.
TRIAL REGISTRATION: Ethics approval was obtained on January 31, 2019, and the study was retrospectively registered with the Netherlands Trial Register ( NL8718 ) on the 17th of June, 2020.