Purpose: Japan has been known as a super-aged society, and ageing is a well-known risk factor for blinding eye diseases. However, epidemiological studies in ophthalmology are still scarce in Japan, and the sizes of the cohorts are relatively small. “Ganka-Ekigaku Network” (GEN, an acronym for the epidemiological network in ophthalmology in Japanese) is established to develop a capacity to boost each epidemiological study and enrich a potential inter-study collaboration to identify risk factors of visual impairment in aged society. Methods: We reviewed cohort studies in Japan with the inclusion criteria as: (1) at least n = 1000 at baseline, (2) multiple modalities of ophthalmic data, and (3) diagnosis reviewed by ophthalmologist(s), and (4) ophthalmologists are involved in the investigators group. As of January 2020, GEN includes 4 individual Japanese epidemiological studies namely, Hisayama study, Yamagata Study (Funagata), Tsuruoka Metabolomics Cohort study, and the Nagahama Prospective Genome Cohort for Comprehensive Human Bioscience. Results: GEN includes approximately 25,000 Japanese participants. The baseline surveys started from 1998 to 2012, and since then the data has been prospectively collected approximately every 5 years. A variety of ophthalmic measurements and other factors have been collected in each study in GEN: ophthalmic measurements (fundus photography, optical coherence tomography, etc.), systemic conditions (laboratory data, etc.), and others (DNA, etc.). Conclusion: GEN is an open platform for observational ophthalmic epidemiological studies to share standardized methodologies. While each study in GEN pursues specific and original research questions, standardization of the methods will enable us to conduct reliable meta-analysis/pooled data analyses.
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