A Global Assessment of Eye Health and Quality of Life: A Systematic Review of Systematic Reviews

  • The objective of this study is to examine the association between vision impairment or eye disease and quality of life, and the outcome of ophthalmic interventions on quality of life globally and across the life span, through an umbrella review or systematic review of systematic reviews.

  • Nine systematic reviews evaluated the association between quality of life and vision impairment, age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, or mendelian eye conditions (including retinitis pigmentosa).

  • Of these, 5 were reviews of quantitative observational studies, 3 were reviews of qualitative studies, and 1 was a review of qualitative and quantitative studies.

  • All found an association between vision impairment and lower quality of life.

  • Sixty systematic reviews addressed at least 1 ophthalmic intervention in association with quality of life.

  • Overall, 33 unique interventions were investigated, of which 25 were found to improve quality of life compared with baseline measurements or a group receiving no intervention.

  • These interventions included timely cataract surgery, anti–vascular endothelial growth factor therapy for age-related macular degeneration, and macular edema.

  • The study concluded that there is a consistent association between vision impairment, eye diseases, and reduced quality of life.

  • These findings support pursuing ophthalmic interventions, such as timely cataract surgery and anti–vascular endothelial growth factor therapy, for common retinal diseases, where indicated, to improve quality of life for millions of people globally each year.

Publication date

June 21, 2021


JAMA Ophthalmology

Sponsor Institution

National Institutes of Health, Wellcome Trust, Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, Moorfields Eye Charity, National Institute of Health Research Moorfields Biomedical Research Centre, Sightsavers, Fred Hollows Foundation, SEVA Foundation, British Council for the Prevention of Blindness, and Christian Blind Mission.


Lama Assi, MD; Fatimah Chamseddine, MD; Perla Ibrahim, MD; Hadi Sabbagh, BS; Lori Rosman, MLS; Nathan Congdon, MD, MPH; Jennifer Evans, PhD, MSc; Jacqueline Ramke, PhD, MPH; Hannah Kuper, ScD; Matthew J. Burton, PhD; Joshua R. Ehrlich, MD, MPH; Bonnielin K. Swenor, PhD, MPH
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