Emotional Impact of Losing Sight Statistical Evidence

Emotional Impact of Losing Sight Statistical Evidence

Research commissioned by RNIB estimates that there are 1.8 million people with visual impairment in the UK, and 203,000 reg iste red blind people. It is predicted that there will bea doubling of these numbers by 2050, to nearly 4 million -direct costs to the economy of visual impairment in the UK total £2.1 billion.

  • Of visually impaired older people, 13.5% were depressed compared with 4.6% of people with good vision – (Depression and Anxiety in Visually impaired older people – Evan JR, Fletcher AE, Wormald RPL, Opthamology vol. 114, 283-288, 2007)
  • One third of older individuals with poor vision or registered blind report a “good” quality of life, compared with two-thirds of those with good or excellent vision – (“An investigation of the circumstances of older people with sight loss: Analysis of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing”. UCL research for Thomas Pocklington Trust, October 2006)
  • A survey of individuals registered blind and partially sighted in the past eight years reveals that only 15% of them were offered any form of emotional support in the year after registration (Network 1000 Wave 2, 2008).
  • 70% of newly diagnosed blind and partially sighted people wanted someone to talk to about their fears and concerns but only 19% were offered this opportunity by their eye clinic (Patients Talking 2, 2001)
  • Visual impairment is associated with a higher than normal risk of depression. The Carabalese study found that persons with vision impairment had a 2.3 times greater risk of depression than those without vision problem. (Carabalese et al 1993, Campbell et al 1999, Wahl, Schilling et al 1999)
  • The diagnosis of sight loss is often traumatic
  • Services that emphasise increasing independence (and reducing dependence) are valued and effective in reducing anxiety and depression

(Research commissioned by Thomas Pocklington Trust and conducted by Reading University 2008-09)

Amanda Hawkins

Senior Manager – Emotional Support


020 7391 2275