Importance: Conference proceedings are platforms for early communication and dissemination of relevant and timely topics of interest. More than half of abstracts presented at biomedical conferences fail to be published in full, resulting in wasted time and resources. Objective: To systematically review reports evaluating the proportion of abstracts presented at eye and vision conferences that are subsequently published in full and investigate factors associated with publication. Data Sources: MEDLINE, Embase, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, Web of Science, and reference lists of included reports were systematically searched from inception to January 11, 2019. Study Selection: Reports that examined the proportion of abstracts presented at eye and vision conferences and subsequently published in peer-reviewed journals 24 or more months later. Data Extraction and Synthesis: Two reviewers independently assessed study eligibility, abstracted data, and evaluated the risk of bias. A meta-analysis was conducted to determine the proportion of abstracts published in full and assess factors associated with subsequent full publication. Main Outcomes and Measures: Proportion of abstracts presented at eye and vision conferences subsequently published in full. Results: There were 19 reports covering 12261 abstracts presented at 11 unique eye and vision conferences. The overall risk of bias of the reports was low. The weighted proportion of abstracts published in full was 38.0% (95% CI, 31.7%-44.3%) and 54.9% (95% CI, 34.6%-73.7%) among reports restricted to abstracts describing randomized clinical trials. Nine reports (47.4%) investigated the proportion of abstracts subsequently published by ophthalmic subspecialties, ranging from 28.3% (oculoplastics: 95% CI, 17.2%-42.9%) to 42.7% (glaucoma: 95% CI, 34.7%-51.0%). Oral presentation (risk ratio, 1.45; 95% CI, 1.20-1.76) and basic science (risk ratio, 1.25; 95% CI, 1.05-1.47) were significantly associated with higher full publication; factors not significantly associated with full publication included positive results, randomized clinical trial vs other study design, multicenter study, and industry funding. Conclusion and Relevance: More than 60% of abstracts presented at eye and vision conferences were not published in full within 2 years of conference presentation. Failure to disseminate research studies in peer-reviewed journals is not desired, especially when involving human participants.
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