Underserved groups could be better considered within population-based eye health surveys: A methodological study

Lucy Goodman, Tulio Reis, Justine H Zhang, Mayinuer Yusufu, Philip R Turnbull, Pushkar Silwal, Mengtian Kang, Sare Safi, Hiromi Yee, Gatera Fiston Kitema, Anakin Chu Kwan Lai, Ian McCormick, João M Furtado, Mostafa Bondok, Eric Lai, Sophie Woodburn, Matthew J Burton, Jennifer R Evans, Jacqueline Ramke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: In pursuit of health equity, the World Health Organization has recently called for more extensive monitoring of inequalities in eye health. Population-based eye health surveys can provide this information, but whether underserved groups are considered in the design, implementation, and reporting of surveys is unknown. We conducted a systematic methodological review of surveys published since 2000 to examine how many population-based eye health surveys have considered underserved groups in their design, reporting, or implementation.

STUDY DESIGN AND SETTING: We identified all population-based cross-sectional surveys reporting the prevalence of objectively measured vision impairment or blindness. Using the PROGRESS+ framework to identify underserved groups, we assessed whether each study considered underserved groups within 15 items across the rationale, sampling or recruitment methods, or the reporting of participation and prevalence rates.

RESULTS: 388 eye health surveys were included in this review. Few studies prospectively considered underserved groups during study planning or implementation, for example within their sample size calculations (n=5, ∼1%) or recruitment strategies (n=70, 18%). The most common way that studies considered underserved groups was in the reporting of prevalence estimates (n=374, 96%). We observed a modest increase in the number of distinct PROGRESS+ factors considered by a publication over the study period. Gender/sex was considered within at least one item by 95% (n=267) of studies. Forty-three percent (n=166) of included studies were conducted primarily on underserved population groups, particularly for sub-national studies of people living in rural areas, and we identified examples of robust population-based studies in socially excluded groups.

CONCLUSION: More effort is needed to improve the design, implementation, and reporting of surveys to monitor inequality and promote equity in eye health. Ideally, national-level monitoring of vision impairment and service coverage would be supplemented with smaller-scale studies to understand the disparities experienced by the most underserved groups.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Clinical Epidemiology
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2024


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