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Susette Lauwen, Eiko K. de Jong, Dirk J. Lefeber, Anneke I. den Hollander; Omics Biomarkers in Ophthalmology. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2017;58(6):BIO88-BIO98. doi: 10.1167/iovs.17-21809.
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“Omics” refers to high-throughput analyses of genes, proteins, or metabolites in a biological system, and is increasingly used for ophthalmic research. These system-based approaches can unravel disease-related processes and are valuable for biomarker discovery. Furthermore, potential therapeutic targets can be identified based on omics results, and targeted follow-up experiments can be designed to gain molecular understanding of the disease and to test new therapies. Here, we review the application of omics techniques in eye diseases, focusing on age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy (DR), retinal detachment (RD), myopia, glaucoma, Fuchs' corneal dystrophy (FCD), cataract, keratoconus, and dry eyes. We observe that genomic analyses were mainly successful in AMD research (almost half of the genomic heritability has been explained), whereas large parts of disease variability or risk remain unsolved in most of the other diseases. Other omics studies like transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics provided additional candidate proteins and pathways for several eye diseases, although sample sizes in these studies were often very small and replication is lacking. In order to translate omics results into clinical biomarkers, larger sample sizes and validation across different cohorts would be essential. In conclusion, omics-based studies are increasing in ophthalmology, and further application to the clinic might develop in the years to come. Integration of genomics with other type of omics data has the potential to improve the accuracy of predictive tests. Moreover, in the future, omics may lead to stratification of patients into subgroups based on molecular profiles, enabling the development of personalized treatments.
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