18 September 2020
New sight loss report – Time to Focus
This week, Fight for Sight launched its ‘Time to Focus’ report, which highlights the impacts and costs of sight loss on a growing number of individuals and broader society.
The study found that using standardised testing, people with severe sight loss have the lowest quality of life scores of “almost any other severe health condition, including depression, arthritis and advanced breast cancer".
Time to Focus also estimates that sight loss costs the UK economy £25.2 billion a year, which will increase by £4.7 billion by 2030. The new research includes costing tools which estimate that:
- Reducing the prevalence of certain eye conditions by 1% a year could reduce the financial impacts of sight loss on the UK economy by up to £3.1 billion by 2030
- A new case of age-related macular degeneration, in an adult aged 50 and over with moderate visual impairment, costs £73,350
- The lifetime cost of each person with glaucoma is £49,800 per person
- The non-health lifetime cost of somebody blind from birth is at least £621,000.
Today, over two million people are affected by sight loss, and this is estimated to increase to 3.5 million in the next 30 years.
Although most costs are related to non-healthcare impacts of sight loss, the report confirms that 16% of costs relate directly to health and social care. The majority (63%) is related to hospital activity, while General Ophthalmic Services (GOS) and pharmaceuticals combined account for 21%.
It also sets out how the three most common eye conditions – cataract, glaucoma and AMD – are age-related and costs the NHS £2 billion a year:
- Cataracts £689 million
- Glaucoma £94 million
- Age-related macular degeneration £1.2 billion.
With the population growing older and prevalence of these conditions due to rise, Fight for Sight is calling on governments to treat sight loss and blindness as a significant public health issue.