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


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


European Commission




Acta Ophthalmologica


  • 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.