March 2013

Dr Suzanne Hodge, Dr Paul Knox, Dr Jude Robinson and Dr Clare Thetford, University of Liverpool

Support and services for people with sight loss are failing to keep up with patients’ needs as they change in the long term, according to research funded by the Thomas Pocklington Trust.

Key Facts: Sight loss and long-term support

  • Despite poor or deteriorating sight, participants in the study cope reasonably well.
  • Many with sight loss are left vulnerable and dependent on informal and unreliable support networks in the long term.
  • Changes to general health had the biggest impact on individuals. For some, ongoing or new chronic health problems combined with sight loss limited mobility, and this, together with an increasing inability to carry out such daily tasks as reading, cooking and shopping, eroded their quality of life.
  • Clinicians often fail to follow-up effectively after diagnosis, leaving individuals to cope alone.
  • Services offered by Eye Clinic Liaison Officers are not being sufficiently utilised because long-standing patients are not being directed to them.

How can this research help?

The research gives a detailed account of how people with sight loss manage their own needs and how those needs can be supported in future by professionals where appropriate. It identifies ways in which service providers can be supportive of people as their needs change.

Links: 

Research Findings: As Life Goes On: A Closer Look at How Support Services Respond to the Changing Needs of People with Sight Loss – PDF version and Word version