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 Bron, Jost Jonas, Serge Resnikoff, Julie-Anne Little, Rupert Bourne

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Purpose: There is a relative paucity of self-reported vision problems data in European countries. 

Methods: In this context, we 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. 

Results: The survey included 311 386 individuals (54.18% women), with overall crude prevalence of self-reported vision problems of 2.07% [95% CI; 2.01–2.14]. Among them, 1.70 % [1.61–1.78] of men, 2.41% [2.31–2.51] of women and 4.71% [4.53–4.89] 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% [2.30–2.56]. 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, while higher income was associated with less self-reported vision problems with OR of 0.80 [0.73–0.86]. 

Conclusions: 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalActa Ophthalmologica
Early online date7 Oct 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Oct 2020


  • Europe
  • associated factors
  • epidemiology
  • ophthalmology
  • prevalence
  • vision impairment
  • vision loss


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