Statistics in ophthalmic research: Two eyes, one eye or the mean?

C. Y. Cheng, J. H. Liu, S. C. Chiang, S. J. Chen, W. M. Hsu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Background. Ophthalmic data, while different among individuals, are usually similar between fellow eyes of the same individual. This study was designed to illustrate alternative approaches to account for the correlation between fellow eyes. This is important for making inferences using data from both eyes. Methods. With the use of a real data set from a population-based study, we described the distribution of intraocular pressure (IOP) by estimating the mean and standard deviation (SD) and evaluated the potential risk factors of higher IOP based on the regression method. The units of observation studied were of both eyes, right eye only, left eye only, the eyes with higher IOP and the mean value of both eyes. Furthermore, the generalized estimating equation (GEE) method was used to account for the correlation between fellow eyes in the regression analysis. Results and inferences from the different approaches were compared. Results. The analysis included all the eyes, providing the largest sample size and unbiased estimates of the mean and SDs. There were some discrepancies among different approaches in the regression analysis. The GEE method simultaneously evaluated the effects of both eyes, and increased precision and enhanced inferences. Conclusions. Inconsistent results among different ophthalmic studies result from variations in not only study design and courses but also statistical methods. Making the best use of appropriate statistical techniques, which account for between eye correlation, provides valid statistical inferences.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)885-892
Number of pages8
JournalChinese Medical Journal (Taipei)
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Generalized estimating equation
  • Intraocular pressure
  • Linear modeling
  • Statistics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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