UK Biobank participants are helping to build a fantastic resource for studying diseases of the eye. Detailed images of the eye and other eye information were collected on around 100,000 participants who joined the study.
The UK Biobank Eye & Vision Consortium was formed by experts to ensure best use is made of this incredibly detailed data. UK Biobank collected visual acuity, auto-refraction and intraocular pressure data on around 112,000 people. In addition, simultaneous digital fundus photography, as well as macular optical coherence tomography was carried out on 67,725 people.
Links to other data collected by UK Biobank (such as lifestyle and wellbeing), together with the design of the study to follow health over many years, make this possibly the most valuable research resource for UK ophthalmology.
Eye and vision researchers around the UK formed the consortium involving clinicians and academics incorporating Belfast, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff, Dundee, Edinburgh, Gloucester, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Southampton, St Andrews, Warwick and several London centres (Brunel, Imperial, Kings, Moorfields, UCL, St Georges).
This has led to the formation of groups working on various aspects of data, including visual acuity, refractive error, intraocular pressure, retinal vascular characteristics, genetics and outcomes adjudication and monitoring.
“This is a great example of researchers working together and how a resource such as UK Biobank can encourage scientists to focus on a wide range of related illnesses and health problems,” said Professor Rory Collins, UK Biobank Principal Investigator.