Major genetic effects in glaucoma: commingling analysis of optic disc parameters in an older Australian population

Leonieke M E van Koolwijk, Paul R Healey, Roger A Hitchings, Paul Mitchell, Pak C Sham, Peter McGuffin, Ananth C Viswanathan

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


    PURPOSE: To test the hypothesis that there is a major genetic determinant of vertical disc diameter (VDD) and vertical cup-to-disc ratio (VCDR) in a large, population-based sample.

    METHODS: Data were collected from 3654 individuals, 49 years of age or older, participating in the Blue Mountains Eye Study. VDD and VCDR were determined from stereo optic disc photographs. Commingling analyses in SKUDRIVER/SKUMIX were performed in nonglaucomatous eyes to investigate whether the observed VDD and VCDR data were best described by a one-, two-, or three-distribution model.

    RESULTS: VDD data did not show evidence of commingling. After adjustment for the effects of age, VDD and intraocular pressure, the best model for VCDR consisted of a mixture of three distributions in Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium. The proportion of the variance in VCDR explained by this mixing component was 0.58.

    CONCLUSIONS: Findings from this study are consistent with the presence of a major gene that accounts for 58% of the variance in VCDR. These results strongly support further efforts to identify the genetic variants responsible for this quantitative trait, which is a key constituent of the phenotype of primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG).

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)5275-80
    Number of pages6
    JournalInvestigative ophthalmology & visual science
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2009


    • Aged
    • Aged, 80 and over
    • Female
    • Genetic Predisposition to Disease/genetics
    • Genetics, Population
    • Glaucoma, Open-Angle/genetics
    • Humans
    • Intraocular Pressure/genetics
    • Male
    • Middle Aged
    • Models, Statistical
    • Optic Disk/pathology
    • Optic Nerve Diseases/genetics
    • Tonometry, Ocular


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