FACTS ABOUT SIGHT LOSS
Sight is central to human experience and how we engage with the world around us. Sight loss – the partial or complete loss of sight – can completely transform the way we navigate life.
Nearly 1.5m people in the UK have macular disease. It affects people of all ages. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common condition, generally affecting people over the age of 552.
The prevalence of sight loss is rising. It is predicted the number of people with sight loss will rise to over 3.5 million by 20503. The number of people experiencing sight loss at some point during their lifetime is as high as 1 in 5.
According to the Royal National Institute of Blind People, in 2016-17 there were an estimated 250 people every day who started to experience permanent sight loss sight loss which is not temporary or cannot be reversed for example through treatment or blindness in the UK – almost 1 person every 6 minutes4.
In recent years, demand for eye services has risen rapidly, with referrals from primary care up by 12% since 2013/14. Providers of NHS eye care services are struggling to keep pace with the rising demand5.
Research has suggested that between 15 and 22 patients a month will experience a significant reduction in their ability to see (including permanent sight loss) resulting from delays to follow up care6.
Definition: sight loss – the complete or partial loss of vision which is not fixable by usual means, such as glasses
References as follows:
- NHS. Vision Loss. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vision-loss/ [Accessed 29 September 2022]
- Macular Society. Macular Conditions. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vision-loss/ [Accessed 29 September 2022]
- Fight for Sight. Time to Focus. Available from: https://www.fightforsight.org.uk/media/3302/time-to-focus-report.pdf [Accessed 29 September 2022]
- RNIB. Key statistics about sight loss. Available from: https://media.rnib.org.uk/documents/Key_stats_about_sight_loss_2021.pdf [Accessed 29 September 2022]
- MacEwen C, Davis A and Chang L. Ophthalmology GIRFT Programme National Speciality Report, December 2019. Available from: https://gettingitrightfirsttime.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/OphthalmologyReportGIRFT19P-FINAL.pdf [Accessed 29 September 2022]
- Foot B and MacEwen C. Surveillance of sight loss due to delay in ophthalmic treatment or review: frequency, cause and outcome. Eye. 2017;31(5):771-775.
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