Global burden of eye and vision disease as reflected in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews

JAMA Ophthalmol. 2015 Jan;133(1):25-31. doi: 10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2014.3527.


Importance: Eye and vision disease burden should help guide ophthalmologic research prioritization. The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Study 2010 compiled data from 1990 to 2010 on 291 diseases and injuries, 1160 disease and injury sequelae, and 67 risk factors in 187 countries. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR) is a resource for systematic reviews in health care, with peer-reviewed systematic reviews that are published by Cochrane Review Groups.

Objective: To determine whether systematic review and protocol topics in the CDSR reflect disease burden, measured by disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs), from the GBD 2010 project. This is one of a series of projects mapping GBD 2010 medical field disease burdens to corresponding systematic reviews in the CDSR.

Design and setting: Two investigators independently assessed 8 ophthalmologic conditions in the CDSR for systematic review and protocol representation according to subject content. The 8 diseases were matched to their respective DALYs from the GBD 2010 project.

Main outcomes and measures: Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews systematic review and protocol representation and percentage of total 2010 DALYs.

Results: All 8 ophthalmologic conditions were represented by at least 1 systematic review in the CDSR. A total of 91.4% of systematic reviews and protocols focused on these conditions were from the Cochrane Eyes and Vision Group. Comparing the number of reviews and protocols with disability, only cataract was well matched; glaucoma, macular degeneration, and other vision loss were overrepresented. In comparison, trachoma, onchocerciasis, vitamin A deficiency, and refraction and accommodation disorders were underrepresented.

Conclusions and relevance: These results prompt further investigation into why certain diseases are overrepresented or underrepresented in the CDSR relative to their DALY. With regard to ophthalmologic conditions, this study encourages that certain conditions get more focus to create a better representation of what is causing the most disability and mortality within this research database. These results provide high-quality and transparent data to inform future prioritization decisions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cost of Illness
  • Databases, Factual*
  • Eye Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Global Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years
  • Review Literature as Topic*
  • Risk Factors
  • Vision Disorders / epidemiology*