In September 2016 RNIB and Specsavers joined in partnership to transform eye health in the UK. After the first year, The State of the Nation Eye Health 2017: A Year in Review was created to present the key achievements of the partnership by that point, along with new information on the incidence of sight loss and attitudes towards eye health in the UK. 

Key findings from the report included:
  • Every day 250 people start to lose their sight in the UK
  • 1 in 5 people will live with sight loss in their lifetime
  • Sight is the nation’s most precious sense by far; 10 times more people (78 per cent of people) said sight was the sense they fear losing most compared to the next most popular sense, smell (8 per cent), followed by hearing (7 per cent
  • Almost a quarter of people are ignoring the first signs of sight loss; despite not being able to see as well in the distance or close up as they used to, 23 per cent have not sought advice from an optician or medical professional 
  • More than 80 per cent of people are not aware that an optician can spot the early signs of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in the UK
  • Research suggests Brits check their teeth more often than their eyes; 42 per cent  visit the dentist once every six months (equating to four times over two years) while 25 per cent  of UK adults haven’t had an eye test in the past two years or at all
From this, our agenda for action was:
  • To raise public awareness
  • To influence eye care commissioning and services
  • To improve eye health data
  • To reduce inequality
  • Promote the need for leadership in eye health  

For more detail about understanding eye health and sight loss please see the State of the Nation Eye Health 2016 report.

RNIB hosted a series of five policy roundtable discussions during 2017, in which a range of experts including patients, health professionals and commissioners came together to explore how improving delivery in eye care services can help to increase capacity. RNIB produced evidence briefings for each of the roundtables along with the notes from each of the meetings.