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Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses in Eyes and Vision: First Steps in Identifying Gaps in Ophthalmology Research

Date and Location




Monday 23 September 2013 - 10:30 - 12:00


Presenting author and contact person

Presenting author

Elizabeth Ssemanda

Contact person

Elizabeth Ssemanda
Abstract text
Background: Systematic reviews are the highest level of research evidence. Identifying and characterizing all systematic reviews in eyes and vision will help to detect gaps in ophthalmology research. Objectives: We developed a database of systematic reviews and meta-analyses in eyes and vision and described the reports. Methods: We identified systematic reviews, using a detailed search strategy in PubMed, EMBASE, and The Cochrane Library in 2009, and updated the search in 2012. We imported systematic reviews into an EndNote database and retrieved the full-texts. We considered a systematic review to be eligible if it examined a specific question and used explicit, pre-specified scientific methods to identify, select, assess, and summarize similar but separate studies. To ensure the identification of all systematic reviews, we considered reports with systematic review or meta-analysis in the title, subheading or text. We included co-publications and previous versions of Cochrane reviews. One author assessed the characteristics of each report. Results: Our search found 7676 citations, of which, we included 1005 systematic reviews. Nearly 19% of reports were current or previous versions of Cochrane reviews. Most systematic reviews focused on glaucoma (18%), age-related macular degeneration (13%), cataract (9%), or diabetic retinopathy (7%). Systematic reviews were published from 1985 to 2012. The number of systematic reviews rose from four reports published in 1980-1989 to 58 reports available in 1990-1999 and 542 reports issued from 2000-2009. While nearly 68% of systematic reviews examined an intervention, 13% of reviews investigated etiology. Approximately 12% of reviews focused on diagnostic tests or prognosis. Only 7% of reviews had another focus (e.g. cost-effectiveness). Conclusions: We developed a database of systematic reviews and meta-analyses in eyes and vision. Most reviews focused on common eye diseases and assessed interventions. The number of systematic reviews in ophthalmology has increased in recent decades.