The online version of this article (https://doi.org/10.1186/s12874-017-0450-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Systematic reviews and meta-analyses are becoming increasingly important methods to summarize published research. Studies of ophthalmology may present additional challenges because of their potentially complex study designs. The aim of this study was to evaluate the reporting quality of systematic reviews and meta-analyses on topics in ophthalmology to determine compliance with the PRISMA guidelines. We assessed articles published between 2010 and 2015 in the five major relevant journals with the highest impact factors.
The MEDLINE and EMBASE databases were searched to identify systematic reviews published between January 2010 and December 2015 in the following 5 major ophthalmology journals: Progress in Retinal and Eye Research, Ophthalmology, Archives of Ophthalmology, American Journal of Ophthalmology, and Survey of Ophthalmology. The screening, identification, and scoring of articles were independently performed by two teams, and the results were submitted to statistical analysis to determine medians, ranges, and 95% CIs.
A total of 115 articles were included. The median compliance was 15 out of 27 items (56%), the range was 5–26 (26–96%), and the inter-quartile range was 10 (37%). Compliance was highest in items related to the ‘description of rationale’ (item 3, 100%) and sequentially lower in ‘the general interpretation of results’ (item 26, 96%) and ‘the inclusion of a structured summary in the abstract’ (item 2, 90%). Compliance was poorest in the items ‘indication of review protocol and registration’ (item 5, 9%), ‘specification of risk of biases that may affect the cumulative evidence’ (item 15, 24%), and ‘description of clear objectives in the introduction’ (item 4, 26%).
The reporting quality of systematic reviews and meta-analyses in ophthalmology should be significantly improved. While we recommend the use of the PRISMA criteria as a guideline before journal submission, additional research aimed at identifying potential barriers to compliance may be required to improve compliance with PRISMA guidelines.
Additional file 1: Search strategies. Search strategies used to identify systematic reviews and meta-analysis published from major ophthalmology journals between 2010 and 2015, via Medline and Embase. (PDF 13 kb)
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- Compliance of systematic reviews in ophthalmology with the PRISMA statement
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