Sight loss among residents in Yorkshire is contributing toward a national hit towards the UK economy of £28billion annually, according to a new report from the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and Specsavers.

The report also found that more than a quarter (26%) of people in Yorkshire and across the Yorkshire & Humber region hadn’t had an eye test in the last two years, as recommended by experts, due to thinking there’s nothing wrong with their sight.

Our partnership with the RNIB
To launch their new fundraising partnership, Specsavers and Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) unveiled a State of the Nation: Eye Health report 2016 at the House of Lords last week.

Commissioned by RNIB and Specsavers, the report found the £28billion figure, which has soared from £22 billion when last calculated in 2008, could be significantly reduced by better public take-up of routine eye tests, and by earlier diagnosis and treatment of eye conditions.

The report also found that 78% of Yorkshire & Humber respondents weren’t aware that eye sight tests can detect medical conditions including cardiovascular issues, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. The report also stated that almost a third of participants haven’t had an eye test in the last two years because they said they didn’t have time.

A total of 56% of respondents added that they would wait until they were struggling to read before taking action.

Exactly half (50%) of those asked across the region said they didn’t think or didn’t know that smoking could damage their sight.

The relationship includes a significant multi-media investment to help educate people about eye health and to raise awareness of how regular eye tests can help reduce preventable sight loss.

State of the Nation: Eye Health 2016 report​
Written by RNIB, supported by Specsavers and supplemented by an independent YouGov poll* of more than 10,000 UK adults, the State of the Nation: Eye Health 2016 report is the most significant and comprehensive insight into the health of the nation’s eyes in recent years. It supports a £3m multi-media public health awareness campaign by RNIB and Specsavers to transform eye health and reduce preventable sight loss in the UK.

More than 6m people in the UK live with sight-threatening conditions or uncorrected refractive error. Some may not yet be experiencing any symptoms and may have no idea that anything is wrong. Of these, more than 2m are living with sight loss that has a significant impact on their daily lives. This figure is set to increase to more than 2.7m by 2030, driven by an increase in the UK’s ageing demographic. Although nearly half of all cases of sight loss in the UK could have been prevented, 14m people in Britain are not having an eye test as recommended at least every two years.

Prevention is key
Specsavers’ Yorkshire & Humber regional chair, Rob May, said: ‘Eye health is vital and it was disappointing to find out through the report that 27% of polled Yorkshire & Humber residents said they don’t have time for an eye sight test. It was interesting to see that 5% of respondents were then referred to a doctor following the test.

‘We hope that through this partnership we will be able to educate the people of Yorkshire & Humber on eye health and prove how vital it is. We also wish every Specsavers team across the region the best of luck with their fundraising this year.’

RNIB Acting CEO Sally Harvey said: ‘An ageing population, rapidly growing demand for eye health and care services, and capacity problems in some clinics at a time of growing budget deficits, means that we are facing an extremely challenging time for eye health in the UK.

‘Improving the nation’s eye health is an enormous challenge but we must rise to it and take action now to stop people needlessly losing their sight.’

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