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 statusPublished online - 7 Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The study was performed under the auspices of the EUROVISION research programme, funded by the European Union Horizon 2020 in 2018 (H2020‐EU.1.3.2). The EUROVISION project aims to describe the prevalence of self‐reported vision problems in European countries and to identify related demographic and socioeconomic factors, health determinants and healthcare access issues. The European Health Interview Survey (EHIS 2) was performed between 2013 and 2015 and was designed to include population‐based samples representative of the European population aged 15 years and older. People living in collective households or institutions were excluded from this survey. The survey was conducted in 28 member states of the European Union and in two neighbouring countries (Iceland and Norway).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Authors. Acta Ophthalmologica published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Acta OphthalmologicaScandinavica Foundation

Copyright 2020 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


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


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