Scientists have found new evidence that a type of glaucoma that mostly affects Asians could be hereditary after they discovered three new genes associated with the disease.

Primary Angle Closure Glaucoma (PACG) affects 15 million people worldwide, 80 per cent of whom live in Asia.

Researchers from Singapore carried out a genome-wide association study of 1,854 PACG cases and 9,608 controls of over five sample collections in Asia.

Validation experiments were performed in another 1,917 PACG cases and 8,943 controls collected from a further six sample collections from around the world.

A total of 1,293 Singaporeans with PACG and 8,025 Singaporean controls were enrolled in this study.

“This provides further evidence that genetic factors play a role in development of PACG,” Professor Aung Tin, lead researcher, said in a statement.

“This is a landmark study identifying three genes that contribute to angle-closure glaucoma, a form of glaucoma that is particularly common in Asians. These data are the first critical steps toward a better understanding of the underlying molecular events responsible for this blinding disease,” Professor Janey Wiggs, Paul Austin Chandler from Harvard Medical School said.

The study was published in the journal Nature Genetics.

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