Key information and statistics on sight loss.
As of 2015, over two million people in the UK are living with sight loss.
Sight loss affects people of all ages, but as we get older we are increasingly likely to experience sight loss.
Our Sight Loss Data Tool gives factual information about sight loss for each region and local authority in England supporting the work done by the UK Vision Strategy. This is available for you to use free of charge.
Our Evidence-based reviews look at the common issues and challenges that affect blind and partially sighted people in particular age groups.
Visit our Eye Health pages for an A-Z of Eye Conditions
At least 50 per cent of sight loss can be avoided. Many older people are needlessly living with sight loss. Almost two thirds of sight loss in older people is caused by refractive error and cataract. Both conditions can be diagnosed by a simple eye test. In most cases the person's sight could be improved by prescribing correct glasses or cataract surgery.
The State of the Nation: Eye Health 2016 report contains the data and insight that commissioners, policy makers, service providers and professionals working in the health, care and voluntary sectors need in order to make a difference.
My Voice 2015 provides a unique insight into the realities of life as a blind or partially sighted person in the UK today. This is the only survey of its kind . The findings are based on telephone interviews with over 1,200 participants from across the UK.
As of 2013/14, there are around 360,000 people registered as blind or partially sighted in the UK.
The almost two million people living with sight loss is an estimate based on how commonly different eye conditions occur. It takes into account factors such as age, gender and ethnicity, and builds up a picture of the numbers of people who are living with significant sight loss in the UK. This picture not only includes people who are registered, but also those who are waiting for treatment, those whose sight could be improved, those who have not registered for whatever reason and people whose sight loss is not at a level that allows them to register. At RNIB we believe that almost two million is a much more accurate reflection of the numbers living with sight loss than using registration figures.
Sight Loss: What we needed to know
Download this helpful information guide put together by people who’ve experienced losing their sight and published by a range of organisations that support people with sight loss.
Cost of sight loss and future predictions:
In 2008 sight loss cost at least £6.5 billion, and this is likely to increase as the number of people with sight loss increases. This figure does not include the cost of sight loss in children.
This cost is made up of:
The number of people in the UK with sight loss is set to increase dramatically in the future. As we get older we are increasingly likely to experience sight loss, and the UK population is ageing. In addition, there is a growing incidence in key underlying causes of sight loss, such as obesity and diabetes. This means that, without action, the numbers of people with sight problems in the UK are likely to increase dramatically over the next 25 years.
It is predicted that by 2020 the number of people with sight loss will rise to over 2,250,000. By 2050, the number of people with sight loss in the UK will double to nearly four million.
For more information on the number of people living with sight loss and costs please see our research reports:
This excellent summary of eye health data provides a snapshot of what is being measured, counted and published about national eye care services.
A number of sight loss sector organisations have assessed and agreed a series of key facts for everyone to use.
These key statistics on vision impairment in children and young people were developed by the VISION 2020 UK Children and Young People's Social Research Group and are the result of a collaboration between the sight loss sector organisations.
If you have any additional questions then you will find a lot more information in our Research reports section.
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