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What is the Cochrane Collaboration?

Website: The Cochrane Collaboration | The Cochrane Eyes & Vision Group

The Cochrane Collaboration is an international organisation that aims to help people make well-informed decisions about healthcare by preparing, maintaining and promoting the accessibility of systematic reviews of the effects of healthcare interventions.


What is different about Cochrane reviews?

A Cochrane systematic review is an up-to-date summary of the evidence of the benefits and risks of interventions used for prevention, treatment or rehabilitation in a healthcare setting. Cochrane systematic reviews differ from traditional narrative reviews in several ways:

  • they have a strict methodology that is stipulated in a published scientific protocol. This sets out the parameters of the research to be undertaken and minimises the chances of bias distorting the findings of the review.
  • they do not represent the views of a selected expert, but aim to be a genuine summary of all of the best evidence of effectiveness of a given intervention, including published and unpublished trial information, in English or in any other language.
  • by focusing almost exclusively on randomised controlled trials, Cochrane reviews by definition contain only the best evidence.
  • Cochrane reviews are updated as new evidence becomes available or in response to post-publication comments.

How are Cochrane reviews used?

Systematic reviews contribute to a number of key functions in modern health care. As evidence-based medicine becomes increasingly widespread, it is likely that any agency wishing to develop clinical practice guidelines will consult the Cochrane Library. A major outcome from the systematic review process is the identification of important gaps in the evidence of clinical effectiveness and to point to priority areas for clinical research. Individual consumers of health care have increasing access to health information and from this can take an active role in decisions about their own health care.

What is the Cochrane Library?

The Cochrane Library is published quarterly on CD-ROM and on the Internet, and is available by subscription. In addition to the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, the Cochrane Library contains a number of databases relevant to evidence-based medicine, including the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, and the Cochrane Review Methodology Database. Click here to login to the Cochrane Library (free to internet users in the UK, Ireland, Norway, and Finland).

The Cochrane Eyes and Vision Group

The Cochrane Eyes and Vision Group registered with the Cochrane Collaboration in April 1997. It is an international network of individuals working to prepare, maintain and promote access to systematic reviews of interventions to prevent or treat eye diseases and/or visual impairment, or that aim to help people adjust to visual impairment or blindness.

The Group has a strategy for prioritisation that emphasises major causes of blindness in the world and areas where there is wide variation in clinical practice and outcomes.

The main outcome for the Group is visual function, which can be assessed in a variety of ways including measurement of visual acuity, assessment of visual field, and assessment of vision related quality of life. Other outcomes are included as necessary within individual reviews.

NB: If you are interested in getting involved with the Group please contact the Review Group Co-ordinator or visit the Cochrane Eyes and Vision Group website

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