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Singapore Epidemiology of Eye Diseases (SEED) Centre

Research Objectives

    The objectives of the SEED programme is to provide novel knowledge in the population eye health to enable dissecting, detecting and preventing the most important eye diseases in both our children and ageing populations in Singapore and Asia, and also to promote and improve global eye health.


Our Vision

    A world-leading research programme focusing specifically on the epidemiology and impact of eye diseases in Asia

      • Provide a one-stop "data portal" and information source on epidemiology of Asian eye diseases
      • Cover an entire spectrum of prevalence, incidence, risk factors and impact of Asian eye diseases in 3 major racial/ethnic groups (Chinese, Malays, Indians)


Specific Aims


    • To document the prevalence, incidence, risk factors and public health significance of blinding eye diseases in Singapore and Asia through the conduct of large scale epidemiological studies
    • To foster international collaborations with other public health and ophthalmic institutes in Asia and worldwide
    • To provide research expertise, training and consultation to other researchers and ophthalmic institutions in Singapore and Asia


Research Areas

    The SEED Programme brings together innovative and cutting-edge epidemiological research for a focus and theme-oriented strategy, with multi-disciplinary expertise in all aspects of clinical and epidemiological research. Our group has developed upon the following major focus areas:

      • Basic & Advanced Epidemiology
      • Genetic & Molecular Epidemiology
      • Infrastructure of Population Health


Programme Highlights

    • Does Genetic Variation in the CFH region of Age-Related Macular Degeneration patients allow Bacteria to trigger the Disease?

      PI: Prof Wong Tien Yin

      Funded by BMRC: S$1,131,659


    • Retinal Imaging for Disease Prediction: From Bench to Bedside

      PI: Prof Wong Tien Yin

      Funded by NMRC: S$5,500,000


    • The Singapore Malay Eye Study 2 (SiMES-2) - Prospective cohort study of 6-year incidence, risk factors, and impact of major Asian Eye Diseases

      PI: Prof Wong Tien Yin

      Funded by NMRC: S$1,472,642


    • Diabetic Retinopathy: Novel Methods in Detection, Pathogenesis, and Treatment

      PI: Prof Wong Tien Yin

      Funded by BMRC: S$1,728,000


    • Angle Closure Glaucoma: Novel methods for Imaging, Risk Assessent and Screening

      PI: Prof Wong Tien Yin

      Funded by BMRC: S$639,933


    • Iris and Choroidal Characteristics in Asian Eyes: Elucidating the Mechanism of Primary Angle Closure Glaucoma

      PI: Dr Cheng Ching-Yu

      Funded by NMRC: $192,936


    • Automatic Glaucoma Screening through Cup-to-Disc Ratio (CDR) Measurement

      PI: Dr Cheng Ching-Yu

      Funded by A*Star: $1,000,190


    • Singapore Age-related macular degeneration Genetic Architecture (SAGA) Study: from Population Genomics to Personalized Medicine

      PI: Dr Cheng Ching-Yu

      Funded by NMRC: $674,897


    • Singapore Retinal Image Archival and Analysis Network (SiRIAN) for Disease Prediction

      Network Director: Prof Wong Tien Yin

      PIs: Dr Lim Joo Hwee, A/Prof Tai E Shyong, A/Prof Wynne Hsu, A/Prof Lee Mong Li

      Funded by SBIC: S$987,850, NMRC: S$505,787



      Through the large-scale epidemiological studies involving thousands of participants, the SEED programme collaborates with leading researchers from Asia, Australia, Europe, USA, and also with national institutions and hospitals.


      National Collaborators:

      Singapore National Eye Centre, National University Hospital, National University of Singapore, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, Genome Institute of Singapore (A*STAR), Institute for Infocomm Research (A*STAR), Health Promotion Board, Ministry of Health, National Cancer Centre Singapore, National Heart Centre, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore Polytechnic, SingHealth, Alexandra Hospital, Tan Tock Seng Hospital


      International Collaborators:

      Centre for Eye Research (Australia), University of Melbourne (Australia), Duke University (US), Johns Hopkins University (US), Moorfields Eye Hospital (UK), Kyoto University  (Japan), Seoul University (Korea), The University of Sydney (Australia), University of Wisconsin-Madison (US), Zhong Shan Ophthalmic Centre (China), The Chinese University of Hong Kong (Hong Kong)


Key Representative Publications

      1. Foong AW, et al. Rationale and methodology for a population-based study of eye diseases in Malay people: the Singapore Malay Eye Study (SiMES). Ophthalmic Epidemiol 2007;14:25-35.
      2. Lavanya R, et al. Methodology of the Singapore Indian Chinese Cohort (SICC) eye study: quantifying ethnic variations in the epidemiology of eye diseases in Asians. Ophthalmic Epidemiol 2009;16:325-36.
      3. Sabanayagam C, et al. Retinal microvascular caliber and chronic kidney disease in an Asian population. Am J Epidemiol 2009;169:625-32.
      4. Cheung CY, et al. Retinal vascular tortuosity, blood pressure, and cardiovascular risk factors. Ophthalmology 2011;118:812-8.
      5. Fan Q, et al. Genetic variants on chromosome 1q41 influence ocular axial length and high myopia. PLoS Genet 2012;8(6):e1002753.
      6. Ikram MK, et al. Retinal vascular caliber as a biomarker for diabetes microvascular complications. Diabetes Care 2013 36:750-9.
      7. Zheng Y, et al. How much eye care services do Asian populations need? Projection from the Singapore Epidemiology of Eye Disease (SEED) Study. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 2013;54:2171-7.
      8. Lu Y, et al. Genome-wide association analyses identify multiple loci associated with central corneal thickness and keratoconus. Nat Genet 2013;45:155-63.
      9. Verhoeven VJ, et al. Genome-wide meta-analyses of multiancestry cohorts identify multiple new susceptibility loci for refractive error and myopia. Nat Genet 2013;45:314-8.
      10. Cheng CY, et al. Nine loci for ocular axial length identified through genome-wide association studies, including shared loci with refractive error. Am J Hum Genet 2013;93:264-77.


Member(s) of programme

      Program Directors

      Professor Wong Tien Yin

      Professor Saw Seang Mei

      Dr Cheng Ching-Yu


      Team members

      Professor Ecosse Lamoureux

      Dr Mohammad Kamran Ikram

      Dr Charumathi Sabanayagam

      Dr Jacqueline Chua

      Dr Neelam Kumari Bhaskar

      Dr Jaclyn Neo

      Dr Shin You Chan

      Mr Tham Yi Chung

      Ms Ong Yi Ting

      Ms Preeti Gupta

      Ms Elizabeth Sidhartha

      Ms Angelina Lee


Contact Details

      Professor Wong Tien Yin

      Singapore Eye Research Institute

      11 Third Hospital Avenue

      SNEC Building, Level 5

      Singapore 168751

      Tel: 63224571

      Fax: 63231903

      Email: ophwty@nus.edu.sg


      Professor Saw Seang Mei

      Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health and Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine

      National University of Singapore

      16 Medical Drive (MD3)

      Singapore 117597

      Tel: 65164976

      Fax: 6567791489

      Email: seang_mei_saw@nuhs.edu.sg


      Dr Cheng Ching-Yu

      Department of Ophthalmology

      National University of Singapore

      1E Kent Ridge Road, NUHS Tower Block Level 7

      Singapore 119228

      Tel: 67723897

      Fax: 67777161

      Emai: ching-yu_cheng@nuhs.edu.sg