A variety of eye-related symptoms due to the overuse of digital devices is collectively referred to as computer vision syndrome (CVS). In this study, a web-based survey about mind and body functions, including eye strain, was conducted on 1998 Japanese volunteers. To investigate the biological mechanisms behind CVS, a multi-trait genome-wide association study (GWAS), a multivariate analysis on individual-level multivariate data, was performed based on the structural equation modeling methodology assuming a causal pathway for a genetic variant to influence each symptom via a single common latent variable. Twelve loci containing lead variants with a suggestive level of significance were identified. Two loci showed relatively strong signals and were associated with TRABD2B relative to the Wnt signaling pathway and SDK1 having neuronal adhesion and immune functions, respectively. By utilizing publicly available eQTL data, colocalization between GWAS and eQTL signals for four loci was detected, and a locus on 2p25.3 showed a strong colocalization (PPH4 > 0.9) on retinal MYT1L, known to play an important role in neuronal differentiation. This study suggested that the use of multivariate questionnaire data and multi-trait GWAS can lead to biologically reasonable findings and enhance our genetic understanding of complex relationships among symptoms related to CVS.
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