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Risk of bias assessment of randomised controlled trials in high-impact ophthalmology journals and general medical journals: a systematic review
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  • Published on:
    Building a reliable evidence base in eyes and vision
    • Kay Dickersin, Professor Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
    • Other Contributors:
      • Barbara S. Hawkins, Professor Emerita
      • Jimmy T. Le, Doctoral Student
      • Tianjing Li, Associate Professor
      • Ian J. Saldanha, Assistant Scientist
      • Roberta W. Scherer, Senior Scientist
      • Gianni Virgili, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology

    Dear Editors,

    We are writing to express concerns about an article published recently in BJO. (1) While Joksimovic and colleagues claim to have conducted a systematic review, they did not. Rather, they describe a cross-sectional study of randomized trials in ophthalmology with two comparison (or “exposure”) groups: trials published in ophthalmology journals, and trials published in general medical journals. In contrast, a systematic review (also a cross sectional study) has been defined as "… a scientific investigation that focuses on a specific question and uses explicit, prespecified scientific methods to identify, select, assess, and summarize the findings of similar but separate studies." (2)

    To minimize mislabeling of systematic reviews, among other purposes, Cochrane Eyes and Vision (CEV) is partnering with individual ophthalmology and optometry journals to appoint a knowledgeable associate editor responsible for editorial functions related to systematic reviews at each journal (http://eyes.cochrane.org/associate-editors-eyes-and-vision-journals). Our research has indicated that many published eye and vision articles billed as “systematic reviews” do not adhere to accepted criteria, and are not reliable. (3)

    In addition to adding associate editors for systematic reviews to their team, journal editors can insist that authors adhere to reporting standards, f...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    Kay Dickersin, MA, PhD (corresponding author)
    Cochrane Eyes and Vision Group, US Satellite
    Potential conflicts of interest and financial disclosures: Salary support from the National Eye Institute grant that funds the work of Cochrane Eyes and Vision US.

    Barbara S. Hawkins, PhD
    The Wilmer Eye Institute
    Cochrane Eyes and Vision Group, US Satellite
    Potential conflicts of interest and financial disclosures: Salary support from the National Eye Institute grant that funds the work of Cochrane Eyes and Vision US.

    Jimmy T. Le, MA
    Cochrane Eyes and Vision Group, US Satellite
    Potential conflicts of interest and financial disclosures: None

    Tianjing Li, MD, PhD, MHS
    Cochrane Eyes and Vision Group, US Satellite
    Potential conflicts of interest and financial disclosures: Salary support from the National Eye Institute grant that funds the work of Cochrane Eyes and Vision US.

    Ian J. Saldanha, MBBS, MPH, PhD
    Cochrane Eyes and Vision Group, US Satellite
    Potential conflicts of interest and financial disclosures: Salary support from the National Eye Institute grant that funds the work of Cochrane Eyes and Vision US.

    Roberta W. Scherer, PhD
    Cochrane Eyes and Vision Group, US Satellite
    Potential conflicts of interest and financial disclosures: Salary support from the National Eye Institute grant that funds the work of Cochrane Eyes and Vision US.

    Gianni Virgili, MD
    Cochrane Eyes and Vision Group, Italian Satellite
    Potential conflicts of interest and financial disclosures: None