Purpose: To investigate the 2- and 5-year publication rates of abstracts presented at major international ophthalmology meetings. Methods: We analyzed a random selection of 20% of free papers and posters presented at the 2010 meeting of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the European Association for Vision and Eye Research, the Asia-Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology, and the 2009 European Society of Ophthalmology meeting. The PubMed (MEDLINE) database was searched to identify matching journal articles. Data collection included: topic, geographic origin, presentation type, publication status, and impact factor. A multivariate logistic regression model was used to assess odds of publication and impact factor. Results: Our analysis included 1742 research abstracts. The overall 2- and 5-year publication rates were 33.3% (n = 579) and 47.2% (n = 823), respectively. The highest publication rates were found for Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (36.1% and 51.9%, p < 0.0001), paper presentations (44.5% and 60.5%, p < 0.0001), researches from Oceania (35.8% and 57.1%, p < 0.05) and North America (36.2% and 50.5%, p < 0.05), and Basic science studies (44% and 60.3%, p < 0.01). After adjustments, higher odds of publication were shown by the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology and the American Academy of Ophthalmology meetings (p < 0.0001), papers (p < 0.0001), and Basic science (p < 0.05). The median impact factor was 3.20 (interquartile range = 1.90–3.40). Conclusion: Less than half of abstracts presented at the major ophthalmology meetings reach publication within 5 years of their initial presentation. Professionals attending meetings may consider adopting a more critical approach to the preliminary results reported in presented abstracts. Increasing publication rates and reducing potential publication bias is of interest.
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