October 2014

Dr Suzanne Hodge and Dr Fiona Eccles, Lancaster University

Loneliness and social isolation are not inevitable consequences of sight loss and can be overcome, according to research commissioned by Thomas Pocklington Trust. The report, ‘Loneliness, Social Isolation and Sight Loss’ found that an individual’s loneliness is more often connected to how they perceive their own visual impairment and their expectations around support and relationships.

Key Facts:

  • Studies into the link between sight loss and feelings of isolation and loneliness were largely inconclusive.
  • Loneliness and social isolation occur as part of a complex interactive process involving other factors including gender, socio-economic status and individual psychology.
  • Loneliness is linked to the individual’s own perception of their loss of sight rather than the clinical assessment of their vision.
  • People’s expectations about relationships and the support they receive are more important than the amount of support they receive.
  • Difficulties in communication and social interaction can contribute to feelings of isolation.

How can this research help?

In understanding the connection between isolation and sight loss, the study can recommend ways to improve policy and practice as well as suggesting further areas for research.

Links: 

Research Findings: Loneliness, Social Isolation and Sight Loss – PDF version and Word version