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To compare health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in American vs. Canadian populations suffering from retinal diseases.A search of Medline was conducted according to a strategy that combined the MeSH heading ‘retinal diseases’ with either of ‘quality of life’ as a MeSH or ‘utility’ as a keyword. We included studies of American or Canadian patients using any of the National Eye Institute 25-item visual functioning questionnaire (NEI-VFQ-25), visual function index (VF-14), short form health survey (SF-36), or utility to assess HRQoL. A total of 22 studies with American patients and five with Canadian patients were found. There was no significant HRQoL difference found between the American and Canadian patients for any of the HRQoL instruments (P = 0.14–0.80); however, for all instruments mean HRQoL correlated positively with mean visual acuity in the better-seeing eye (P < 0.001).On the basis of a review of the currently published literature, we were unable to detect significant differences in HRQoL between American and Canadian patients. Further research into the topic is necessary.