Our research report 'saving money, losing sight' reveals that delays in diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care are resulting in people losing their sight needlessly.
The research is based on findings from an RNIB survey sent to staff in eye clinics across England. Staff were asked about current and future capacity in their eye department, the impact of insufficient capacity on patient care and possible solutions. By September 2013, 172 responses were received from a range of eye health professionals including 91 ophthalmologists and 59 ophthalmic nurses.
A new research study commissioned by RNIB has found a "postcode lottery" exists in cataract treatment provision as access to surgery is being unfairly restricted in some areas of England. Cataract treatment is one of the most cost-effective surgical procedures carried out by the NHS and we believe patients should be allowed access to the surgery as soon as a cataract affects their quality of life.
Perspectives on the wet Age-related Macular Degeneration (wet AMD) patient journey. In recent years, there have been significant advances in the treatment of wet AMD and many examples of good practice across the country. Why then are people are still losing their sight from a treatable condition? To answer this question, RNIB commissioned The Campaign Company to undertake a major piece of research to look at the issues from the perspective of patients, carers, clinicians, commissioners and other health care professionals.
Throughout the UK demand for sight saving treatments is increasing as the population ages. Hospital budgets are tight and capacity issues in eye clinics are hampering service delivery. In England, the NHS faces its own pressures of delivering £20 billion of efficiency savings while implementing major structural reforms. This is coupled with a shift to local decision making which could increase postcode prescribing and exacerbate health inequalities. In response to these pressures and to reduce the amount of avoidable sight loss in the UK, we launched the "Save our Sight" campaign. The report below outlines the work that is currently being undertaken as part of the campaign in each of the four countries of the UK.
Over half (53 per cent) of Primary Care Trusts in England are restricting access to cataract surgery. Findings, published by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, show that short term savings are leading to unnecessary sight loss and an inefficient use of NHS resources.
Glaucoma affects peripheral vision which is used for navigation and avoiding obstacles. The condition is caused by raised but pain free eye pressure and can lead to significant sight loss without the sufferer being aware. An eye test can detect raised eye pressure before it causes damage. Patients must have access to timely treatment and follow-up appointments in order to make sure that their eye pressure is under control and not causing irreversible sight loss. Our campaign report "Don't blame the patient" launched in January 2007, states the reasons why more than 200,000 people in the UK are needlessly losing their sight to glaucoma.
Don't let age rob you of your sight! The rise in the population of older people will bring an increase in the number of people developing age-related eye disease. Many of these conditions can be treated successfully if detected early. Identifying people with unnecessary sight loss is crucial since they may experience mobility problems and social isolation, may have problems taking medicines correctly and are at a significantly higher risk of falls and subsequent hospitalisation or even
Although almost 90 per cent of people say that sight is the sense they most fear losing most of us are not aware that there are active steps we can take to reduce the risk of sight loss. This report aims to provide authoritative guidance on the steps we can take to safeguard our sight providing an added incentive to adopt (or continue leading) a healthy lifestyle.
A regular eye test is vital if glaucoma is to be detected early and sight loss prevented. Those over the age of 50, and particularly those in an increased risk group, should have an eye test at least every two years. Research for this report shows that those at risk of glaucoma are not getting their eyes tested on a regular basis.
This report provides the first prevalence based estimates of the economic and social costs of vision loss for the United Kingdom. It is based upon detailed expenditure data for 2001/2, assembled from central government, local government, voluntary sector and private sector sources. It indicates that the total cost of sight loss is in the region of £4.9billion a year. The report contains a powerful message and a warning. Although sight is the sense we most fear losing, as a society we spend relatively little to prevent, detect and treat eye disease - in total around £1.2billion. This represents just 1.6 per cent of the total NHS budget. Typically eye health services are overloaded and under-resourced.