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Cohort profile: Design and methods in the eye and vision consortium of UK Biobank

Lookup NU author(s): Professor David SteelORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


© Author(s) (or their employer(s)) 2019. Purpose To describe the rationale, methods and research potential of eye and vision measures available in UK Biobank. Participants UK Biobank is a large, multisite, prospective cohort study. Extensive lifestyle and health questionnaires, a range of physical measures and collection of biological specimens are collected. The scope of UK Biobank was extended midway through data collection to include assessments of other measures of health, including eyes and vision. The eye assessment at baseline included questionnaires detailing past ophthalmic and family history, measurement of visual acuity, refractive error and keratometry, intraocular pressure (IOP), corneal biomechanics, spectral domain optical coherence tomography (OCT) of the macula and a disc-macula fundus photograph. Since recruitment, UK Biobank has collected accelerometer data and begun multimodal imaging data (including brain, heart and abdominal MRI) in 100 000 participants. Dense genotypic data and a panel of 20 biochemistry measures are available, and linkage to medical health records for the full cohort has begun. Findings to date A total of 502 665 people aged between 40 and 69 were recruited to participate in UK Biobank. Of these, 117 175 took part in baseline assessment of vision, IOP, refraction and keratometry. A subgroup of 67 321 underwent OCT and retinal photography. The introduction of eye and vision measures in UK Biobank was accompanied by intensive training, support and a data monitoring quality control process. Future plans UK Biobank is one of the largest prospective cohorts worldwide with extensive data on ophthalmic diseases and conditions. Data collection is an ongoing process and a repeat of the baseline assessment including the questionnaires, measurements and sample collection will be performed in subsets of 25 000 participants every 2-3 years. The depth and breadth of this dataset, coupled with its open-access policy, will create a powerful resource for all researchers to investigate the eye diseases in later life.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Chua SYL, Thomas D, Allen N, Lotery A, Desai P, Patel P, Muthy Z, Sudlow C, Peto T, Khaw PT, Foster PJ, Zheng Y, Aslam T, Barman SA, Barrett JH, Bishop P, Blows P, Bunce C, Carare RO, Chakravarthy U, Chan M, Crabb DP, Cumberland PM, Day A, Dhillon B, Dick AD, Egan C, Ennis S, Fruttiger M, Gallacher JEJ, Garway-Heath DF, Gibson J, Gore D, Guggenheim JA, Hammond CJ, Hardcastle A, Harding SP, Hogg RE, Hysi P, Keane PA, Khawaja AP, Lascaratos G, MacGillivray T, Mackie S, Martin K, McGaughey M, McGuinness B, McKay GJ, McKibbin M, Mitry D, Moore T, Morgan JE, O'Sullivan E, Owen CG, Paterson E, Petzold A, Rahi JS, Rudnikca AR, Self J, Sivaprasad S, Steel D, Stratton I, Strouthidis N, Trucco E, Tufail A, Vitart V, Vernon SA, Viswanathan AC, Williams C, Williams K, Woodside JV, Yates MM, Yip J

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: BMJ Open

Year: 2019

Volume: 9

Issue: 2

Online publication date: 21/02/2019

Acceptance date: 11/12/2018

ISSN (electronic): 2044-6055

Publisher: BMJ Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-025077

PubMed id: 30796124