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Cheng Ching-Yu


Principal Clinician Scientist & Head, Ocular Epidemiology Research Group and Data Science Unit, Singapore Eye Research Institute



Professor Cheng obtained his Doctor of Medicine degree in 1995 and specialist accreditation in Ophthalmology in 2001 from Taiwan. He received his fellowship training in Preventive Ophthalmology at Wilmer Eye Institute in the United States, and completed his Master of Public Health, and PhD in Genetic Epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins University.  

Professor Cheng’s primary research interests are related to the epidemiology and genetics of major eye diseases. His current work involves in a variety of epidemiological, clinical, and image research on glaucoma; and identification of susceptibility genes for complex ocular diseases, using both genome-wide association approaches and next-generation sequencing technology. More recently, he is also using deep learning and big data analytics based on ocular images for ocular and health outcome prediction.

He directs the Singapore Epidemiology of Eye Diseases (SEED) Program, a large multi-disciplinary research program focusing on epidemiology, imaging and genetics on eye diseases in Singapore. The SEED program includes one of the largest epidemiological databases (n >10,000) for eye diseases in the world.  The achievements of the SEED program have become visible via both a number of high-impact publications in the prestigious journals and the surging amount of new knowledge in prevention of blindness.  The data have also been used widely by leading international agencies.

Professor Cheng is on the editorial board of several international journals, including Scientific Reports, British Journal of Ophthalmology, Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology, Translational Vision Science and Technology, and Ophthalmic Epidemiology. He has received a number of prestigious awards, including Clinician Scientist Award (CSA) from National Medical Research Council, Singapore in 2012 and 2017, the Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology (APAO) Achievement Award, APAO Outstanding Service in Prevention of Blindness Award, and American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) Achievement Award.  

Research Interest

Professor Cheng’s research interests are related to the epidemiology and genetics of major eye diseases. His current work involves in a variety of epidemiological, clinical, genetic research on glaucoma and age-related eye diseases, using state-of-art technologies, such as next-generation sequencing and deep learning analytics.  

  1. Cheng CY, Reich D, Wong TY, Klein R, Klein BE, Patterson N, Tandon A, Li M, Boerwinkle E, Sharrett AR, Kao WH. Admixture mapping scans identify a locus affecting retinal vascular caliber in hypertensive African Americans: the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study. PLoS Genet. 2010; 6(4): e1000908. [PMID: 20419148] [IF: 5.224]
  2. Cheng CY, Schache M, Ikram MK, Young TL, Guggenheim JA, Vitart V, 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(2):264-277. [PMID: 24144296] [IF: 9.924]
  3. Wong WL, Su X, Li X, Cheung CMG, Klein R, Cheng CY‡, Wong TY‡. Global prevalence of age-related macular degeneration and disease burden projection for 2020 and 2040: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet Glob Health. 2014; 2(2):e106-e116. ‡Co-last author [PMID: 25104651] [IF: 15.873]
  4. Sidhartha E, Gupta P, Liao J, Tham YC, Cheung CY, He M, Wong TY, Aung T, Cheng CY. Assessment of iris surface features and their relationship with iris thickness in Asian eyes. Ophthalmology. 2014; 121(5):1007-1012. [PMID: 24405741] [IF: 7.732]
  5. Chua J, Tham YC, Liao J, Zheng Y, Aung T, Wong TY, Cheng CY. Ethnic differences of intraocular pressure and central corneal thickness: the Singapore Epidemiology of Eye Diseases study. Ophthalmology. 2014; 121(10):2013-2022. [PMID: 24950592] [IF: 7.732]
  6. Hysi PG‡, Cheng CY‡, Springelkamp H‡, Macgregor S‡, Bailey JN‡, Wojciechowski R‡, et al. Genome-wide analysis of multi-ancestry cohorts identifies new loci influencing intraocular pressure and susceptibility to glaucoma. Nat Genet. 2014; 46(10):1126-30. ‡Co-first author [PMID: 25173106] [IF: 25.455]
  7. Tham YC, Li X, Wong TY, Quigley HA, Aung T, Cheng CY. Global prevalence of glaucoma and projections of glaucoma burden through 2040: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Ophthalmology. 2014; 121 (11):2081-2090. [PMID: 24974815] [IF: 7.732]
  8. Cheng CY‡, Yamashiro K‡, Chen LJ‡, Ahn J‡, Huang L, Huang L, et al. New loci and coding variants confer risk for age-related macular degeneration in East Asians. Nat Commun. 2015; 6:6063. ‡Co-first author [PMID: 25629512] [IF: 11.878]
  9. Tham YC, Liao J, Vithana EN, Khor CC, International Glaucoma Genetics Consortium, Teo YY, Tai ES, Wong TY, Aung T, Cheng CY. Aggregate effects of intraocular pressure and cup-to-disc ratio genetic variants on glaucoma in a multiethnic Asian population. Ophthalmology. 2015; 122(6):1149-57. [PMID: 25745874] [IF: 7.732]
  10. Bailey JN, Loomis SJ, Kang JH, …, Cheng CY,…, Pasquale LR, Haines JL, Wiggs JL. Genome-wide association analysis identifies TXNRD2, ATXN2 and FOXC1 as susceptibility loci for primary open angle glaucoma. Nat Genet. 2016; 48(2):189-94. [PMID: 26752265] [IF: 25.455]
  11. Chua J, Thakku SG, Tun TA, Nongpiur ME, Tan MC, Girard MJ, Wong TY, Quah JH, Aung T, Cheng CY. Iris crypts influence dynamic changes of iris volume. Ophthalmology. 2016; 123(10):2077-84. [PMID: 27521171] [IF: 7.732]
  12. Koh V, Chua J, Shi Y, Thakku SG, Lee R, Nongpiur ME, Baskaran M, Kumar RS, Perera S, Aung T, Cheng CY. Association of iris crypts with acute primary angle closure. Br J Ophthalmol. 2017; 101(10):1318-1322. [PMID: 28270493] [IF: 3.615]
  13. Ho H, Shi Y, Chua J, Tham YC, Lim SH, Aung T, Wong TY, Cheng CY. Association of systemic medication use with intraocular pressure in a multiethnic Asian population: the Singapore Epidemiology of Eye Diseases Study. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2017; 135(3):196-202. [PMID: 28097295] [IF: 6.167]
  14. Fan Q, Maranville JC, Fritsche L, Sim X, Cheung CMG, Chen LJ, Gorski M, Yamashiro K, Ahn J, Laude A, Dorajoo R, Lim TH, Teo YY, Blaustein RO, Yoshimura N, Park KH, Pang CP, Tai ES, Khor CC, Wong TY, Runz H, Cheng CY.  HDL-cholesterol levels and risk of age-related macular degeneration: a multiethnic genetic study using Mendelian randomization. Int J Epidemiol. 2017; 46(6):1891-1902. [PMID: 29025108] [IF: 7.339]
  15. Sobrin L, Chong YH, Fan Q, …, Burdon KP, Wong TY, Cheng CY. Genetically determined plasma lipid levels and risk of diabetic retinopathy: a mendelian randomization study. Diabetes. 2017; 66(12):3130-3141. [PMID: 28951389] [IF: 7.199]
  16. Ting DSW, Cheung CY, Lim G, Tan GSW, Quang ND, Gan A, Hamzah H, Garcia-Franco R, San Yeo IY, Lee SY, Wong EYM, Sabanayagam C, Baskaran M, Ibrahim F, Tan NC, Finkelstein EA, Lamoureux EL, Wong IY, Bressler NM, Sivaprasad S, Varma R, Jonas JB, He MG‡, Cheng CY‡, Cheung GCM‡, Aung T‡, Hsu W‡, Lee ML‡, Wong TY‡. Development and validation of a deep learning system for diabetic retinopathy and related eye diseases using retinal images from multiethnic populations with diabetes. JAMA. 2017; 318(22):2211-2223. ‡Co-senior author [PMID: 29234807] [IF: 51.273]
  17. Tan NYQ, Tham YC, Koh V, Nguyen DQ, Cheung CY, Aung T, Wong TY, Cheng CY. The effect of testing reliability on visual field sensitivity in normal eyes: The Singapore Chinese eye study. Ophthalmology. 2018; 125(1):15-21. [PMID: 28863943] [IF: 7.732]
  18. Ho H, Tham YC, Chee ML, Shi Y, Tan NYQ, Wong KH, Majithia S, Cheung CY, Aung T, Wong TY, Cheng CY. Retinal nerve fiber layer thickness in a multi-ethnic normal Asian population: the Singapore Epidemiology of Eye Diseases (SEED) Study. Ophthalmology. 2019; 126(5):702-711. [PMID: 30529130] [IF: 7.732]
  19. Wu D, Dou J, Chai X, Bellis C, Wilm A, Shih CC, Soon WWJ, Bertin N, Lin CB, Khor CC, DeGiorgio M, Cheng S, Bao L, Karnani N, Hwang WYK, Davila S, Tan P, Shabbir A, Moh A, Tan EK, Foo JN, Goh LL, Leong KP, Foo RSY, Lam CSP, Richards AM, Cheng CY, Aung T, Wong TY, Ng HH; SG10K Consortium, Liu J, Wang C. Large-scale whole-genome sequencing of three diverse Asian populations in Singapore. Cell. 2019; 179(3):736-749.e15. [PMID: 31626772] [IF: 36.216]
  20. Cheng CY, Wang N, Wong TY, Congdon N, He M, Wang YX, Braithwaite T, Casson RJ, Cicinelli MV, Das A, Flaxman SR, Jonas JB, Keeffe JE, Kempen JH, Leasher J, Limburg H, Naidoo K, Pesudovs K, Resnikoff S, Silvester AJ, Tahhan N, Taylor HR, Bourne RRA; Vision Loss Expert Group of the Global Burden of Disease Study. Prevalence and causes of vision loss in East Asia in 2015: magnitude, temporal trends and projections. Br J Ophthalmol. 2019 Aug 28. [Epub ahead of print] [PMID: 31462416] [IF: 3.615]