Self‐Reported Visual Difficulties in Europe and Related Factors: A European Population‐Based Cross‐Sectional Survey

  • The purpose of this study is to ascertain the association between self‐reported vision problems and other variables of interest having a potential interaction with vision problems, identified through review of the literature and data  in European countries.

  • It investigated self‐reported vision problems through European Health Interview Survey 2, a cross‐sectional European population survey based on a standardized questionnaire including 147 medical, demographic and socioeconomic variables applied to non‐institutionalized individuals aged 15 years or more in 28 European countries, in addition to Iceland and Norway.

  • The survey included 311 386 individuals (54.18% women), with overall crude prevalence of self‐reported vision problems of 2.07% . Among them, 1.70 % of men, 2.41% of women and 4.71% of individuals aged 60 or more reported to have a lot of vision problems or to be not able to see.

  • The frequency of self‐reported vision problems was the highest in Eastern European countries with values of 2.43% .

  • In multivariate analyses, limiting long‐standing illness, depression, daily smoking, lack of physical activity, lower educational level and social isolation were associated with self‐reported vision problems with ORs of 2.66 [2.42–2.92], 2.16 [2.01–2.32], 1.11 [1.01–1.23], 1.31 [1.21–1.42], 1.29 [1.19–1.40] and 1.45 [1.26–1.67], respectively.

  • Higher income was associated with less self‐reported vision problems with OR of 0.80 .

  • This study demonstrated inequalities in terms of prevalence of self‐reported vision problems in Europe, with higher prevalence in Eastern European countries and among women and older individuals.

Publication date

October 8, 2020


Acta Ophthalmologica

Sponsor Institution

European Commission


Nicolas Leveziel, Simon Marillet, Tasanee Braithwaite, Tunde Peto, Pierre Ingrand, Shahina Pardhan, Alain M. Bron, Jost B. Jonas, Serge Resnikoff, Julie-Anne Little, Rupert R.A. Bourne
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