The Atlas of variation in risk factors and healthcare for vision in England showed there were approximately 9 million outpatient attendances in the financial year beginning 2019 for all 5 vision treatment specialties, 9.4% of all outpatient attendances across health services.

It is estimated that around 2 million people in the UK are living with some form of sight loss, with this expected to rise to 2.7 million by 2030. Maintaining good eye health is central to maintaining good mental, social and physical health. Vision loss is associated with a reduction in overall quality of life, mental health, independence, mobility, educational attainment, and employment.

Sight loss is not an inevitable part of aging, an estimated 50% of sight loss is avoidable.

  • Primary prevention of sight loss is closely linked to maintaining overall good health. Public health prevention programmes to reduce obesity, increase exercise and stop smoking may prevent or delay the onset of eye disease.
  • Secondary prevention is central to maintaining vision or slowing the progression of diseases which can result in sight loss and is dependent on the organisation and delivery of health services to meet need and demand.
  • Tertiary prevention requires social services and voluntary organisations to support people who are blind or partially sighted to live independently and to adapt to living with their eye condition.