Published: 16 October 2020 at 09:43
New study finds thousands with severe vision loss aren’t getting the right care
Almost a quarter of people with severe sight loss in the UK are going without the treatment they need, according to a new study being presented at the World Congress on Public Health today.
Researchers examined data from a survey of more than 300,000 people aged 15 and over in 28 countries in Europe for the study, published in the journal Acta Ophthalmologica.
The study found that 26% of people across Europe reporting either blindness or severe vision loss had an unmet need for eye care – with this figure at approximately 23% for the UK.
The paper reports significant differences among EU countries in terms of the prevalence of overall severe sight loss amongst the general population. These range from 0.86% experiencing vision loss in Ireland and Malta, to 6.48% in Belgium.
There was a generally higher prevalence of severe vision problems in Eastern Europe, with around 2.43% of the general population experiencing issues when compared to 1.25% in Northern Europe, which includes the UK. The discrepancy widens when examining figures for the over 60s, where 6.34% of people in Eastern Europe reported severe vision loss, compared to 2.50% of the Western European population.
A total of 1.11% of the UK’s general population self-reported severe vision loss issues, rising to 2.15% among the over 60s.
Poor health, social isolation, smoking and poverty were associated with higher levels of self-reported severe vision loss.
Lead author, Professor Rupert Bourne of Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) said:
Professor Bourne is also co-ordinating the UK National Eye Health and Hearing Study, which aims to carry out a robust study of the UK population for sensory loss.