This article in the August issue of Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology describes the rationale and design of a follow-up study to the Singapore Malay Eye Study (SiMES-1).
The initial study, which was conducted from 2004 to 2006, included 3,280 Malay adults between the ages of 40 and 79 living in Singapore. The authors say SiMES-2 will be one of the few follow-up epidemiological eye studies among Asians and will determine the cumulative six-year incidence, progression, risk factors and impact of major age-related eye diseases and visual impairment in Singaporean Malay adults.
They say the data obtained will be useful for public health education and disease prevention among Singaporean Malay adults and may be translatable to other Asian populations. To their knowledge, SiMES-2 is the only cohort study that specifically focuses on the incidence and progression of eye diseases in Asian Malays.
SiMES-1 has yielded information on the prevalence and risk factors of visual impairment and major eye diseases, such as refractive errors, cataracts, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy among the study's population. In addition, SiMES-1 has provided data on the effect of visual impairment and eye disease on vision function and attitudes towards eye diseases.
The authors say a follow-up study is necessary to assess the incidence of new eye diseases and the progression of existing eye diseases in this population. This study will also assess the impact of eye screening on the knowledge and behavior toward eye diseases and prevention. SiMES-2 will determine the effect of risk factors on the incidence of eye diseases in previously healthy adult Malays, and the longitudinal impact of new eye diseases or the progression of existing ones on quality of life.
All participants in SiMES-1 will be contacted and invited to participate in the follow-up study. The authors estimate that 12.8 percent of the participants will be deceased and there will be an 80 percent participation rate for the survivors of SiMES-1 (approximately 2,288 participants).
Participants in SiMES-2 will complete standardized validated questionnaires on socio-demographics, quality of life and impact of visual impairment. They will also undergo assessment of blood pressure, anthropometry, presenting and best-corrected visual acuity, subjective refraction, ocular biometry, slit lamp and dilated eye examination, Goldmann tonometry, optic disc imaging, and digital lens and retinal photography. Examinations will also include retinal tomography, retinal OCT and fundus autofluorescence. Gonioscopy and visual field examination will be performed on selected individuals.