Assessing the Quality of Published Surveys in Ophthalmology

Elaine M. Tran, Megan M. Tran, Melissa A. Clark, Ingrid U. Scott, Curtis E. Margo, Carol Cosenza, Timothy P. Johnson, Paul B. Greenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Purpose: Surveys are an important research modality in ophthalmology, but their quality has not been rigorously assessed. This study evaluated the quality of published ophthalmic surveys. Methods: Three survey methodologists, three senior ophthalmologists, and two research assistants developed a survey evaluation instrument focused on survey development and testing; sampling frame; response bias; results reporting; and ethics. Two investigators used the instrument to assess the quality of all ophthalmic surveys that were published between January 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018; indexed in MEDLINE/PubMed, Embase, and/or Web of Science; contained the search terms “ophthalmology” and “survey” or “questionnaire” in the title and/or abstract; and were available in English. Results: The search identified 626 articles; 60 met the eligibility criteria and were assessed with the survey evaluation instrument. Most surveys (93%; 56/60) defined the study population; 48% (29/60) described how question items were chosen; 30% (18/60) provided the survey for review or described the questions in sufficient detail; 30% (18/60) were pre-tested or piloted; 25% (15/60) reported validity/clinical sensibility testing; 15% (9/60) described techniques used to assess non-response bias; and 63% (38/60) documented review by an institutional review board (IRB). Conclusion: The quality of published ophthalmic surveys can be improved by focusing on survey development, pilot testing, non-response bias and institutional review board review. The survey evaluation instrument can help guide researchers in conducting quality ophthalmic surveys and assist journal editors in evaluating surveys submitted for publication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)339-343
Number of pages5
JournalOphthalmic Epidemiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Epidemiology
  • Ophthalmology


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