The objective of this work was to study the epidemiology of major eye diseases leading to blindness in Europe through a systematic literature review. The literature search was performed using the Medline database (PubMed), with MeSH and free text search terms. Inclusion criteria for the studies were: (a) performed on a healthy population of Caucasian origin aged between 50 and 75 years; (b) diagnosed by ophthalmological examination in accordance with the International Classification of Diseases 10; (c) contained a detailed description of the sampling and diagnostic procedures and data resources; (d) sample size>500, and (e) published between 1990 and 2008. The results of 57 studies on the prevalence and incidence of age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and glaucoma are reported, providing an up-to-date and comprehensive overview of these diseases in Europe from an epidemiological perspective.
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