Title: Labour market experiences of people with seeing difficulties.

Author: Nigel Meager and Emanuela Carta, Publisher: Institute for Employment Studies for RNIB, Year of publication: 2008.


RNIB commissioned the Institute for Employment Studies to produce a detailed analysis of the national quarterly UK Labour Force Survey (LFS). The results gave a detailed analysis of the employment profile of people with seeing difficulties and the issues they faced. Due to the small sample size of participants with seeing difficulties, data from each of the 12 quarters between July 2004 and June 2007 were analysed together.

Key findings    

  • 184,000 working age people were recorded as having a seeing difficulty in the survey. 108,000 of them met the LFS definition of disability, i.e. they are limited in their ability to work or have a disability according to the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), or both. The other 76,000, presumably with less severe seeing difficulties, are not recorded as disabled.    
  • Overall, people with seeing difficulties are relatively well qualified and a higher than average proportion of those that are in work are in high level occupations.    
  • However, the overall employment rate for people with seeing difficulties is low and even lower for people who are disabled by their sight problem.    
  • If people have additional disabilities or health problems the employment rate drops even lower.    
  • People who are disabled by their seeing difficulty have a higher unemployment rate than other disabled people.