There are an estimated 4880 people living with sight loss in Wokingham Borough, with 580 people living with severe sight loss. By 2020 these numbers are expected to increase to 5,870 and 720 respectively. 3% of people living in Wokingham are estimated to have sight loss, which compares to 2.95% of people in the UK as a whole (RNIB).
Causes of sight loss
The following estimates show the number of people in Wokingham Borough living with major causes of preventable sight loss (RNIB):
5,690 ( 6,460) people are living with the early stages of AMD; 405 ( 470) people are living with late stage dry AMD; and 835 (970) living with late stage wet AMD
1,300 ( 1520) people are living with a cataract and 1,470 ( 1540) people are living with glaucoma
9,560 (10,220) people have diabetes and 73.6% (73%) of those who were offered retinal screening in 2012/13 attended
2,675 (3,110) people are living with background diabetic retinopathy and 305 290 people are living with later stages of the disease ( all figures are taken form the Sight Loss Data Tool, Local Authority report, 2016)
The figures below relate to outcomes in the Public Health Outcomes Framework for Wokingham Borough for the year 2013 to 2014:
Public health outcomes measures for preventable sight loss
Care needs to be taken when basing decisions on this data as the numbers of people affected, and thus involved in the rate calculation, are so low. The increased life expectancy in Wokingham, compared to the national average, is also likely to affect the results for conditions affecting the elderly.
A European Survey found that loss of vision was the second biggest health concern of ageing, after memory loss (Age UK). One in five people aged 75 and over are living with sight loss; compared to one in two aged 90 and over:
- Aged 65 to 74 - 843 in Wokingham borough estimated to have sight loss
- Aged 75 to 84 - 1092 in Wokingham borough estimated to have sight loss
- Aged 85 and over - 1187 in Wokingham borough estimated to have sight loss
Sight loss registration
In Wokingham borough:
- There are a total of 605 people registered as blind or partially sighted. 315 people are registered as severely sight impaired and 290 people are registered as sight impaired
- 31% of registered sight impaired or severely sight impaired people are also recorded as having an additional disability
Although Ophthalmologists provide a certificate of sight loss, with data being returned to the Department of Health regularly, a sight loss register is also maintained by local authorities. Data from this covering the numbers and ages of people registered is passed to the Department of Health every 3 years. The next return due is for 31st March 2017 data. It is believed that a significant number of people do not take up the opportunity to register, so no data is presented for JSNA purposes.
Spend on sight loss
The total costs of eye care and supporting people with sight loss are difficult to establish due to the range of services and indirect costs involved. The main direct healthcare costs associated with eye care are within primary ophthalmic services, prescribing and pharmacy and within secondary care where costs are associated with outpatient services and day cases, clinics, eye casualty and inpatient services.
The 2011/12 NHS programme budget spend on problems of vision equates to £34.16 (£29)per person in Wokingham Borough, this includes inpatient and outpatient procedures , residential and community services and other relevant treatments.
The estimated indirect cost of sight loss in 2011 including the cost of family and friends providing informal care equates to £77.28 ( £87) per person in Wokingham Borough (RNIB).
Sight loss is closely linked to falls. Boyce (2010) estimates that 3.8% of falls resulting in hospital admission could be attributed to visual impairment, costing 10% of the total of treating accidental falls.
In Wokingham as of 2015 it is estimated that 4,806 people with sight loss are aged over 65 do experience a fall per year, 2,271 of these falls are attributable to sight loss, 46 people aged 65 with sight loss experience a severe fall per year, which requires hospital admission, 22 of these falls are directly caused by sight loss. ( RNIB, 2016)
The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)’s report Liberating the NHS: Eye Care, Making a reality of equity and excellence (2010) estimates that the NHS could save £2 billion through regular sight testing and early detection.
Some people with sight loss may be eligible for social care services. Usually such services involve the provision of aids, equipment, training and rehabilitation to support people in their daily living tasks. However for some people, their need for services is so great that care packages are required. At the end of March 2015, long term support packages were being provided as follows:
Long term support packages for sight loss
What is this telling us?
Screening uptake, timely treatment and early and appropriate service access are vital to improve eye health. People should be encouraged to attend regular eye screening with an optician.
Those people affected by sight loss need to be well informed and empowered. This can be through the use of support networks and the provision of access, aids, equipment, training and rehabilitation.