September 2015

James Nazroo, Jennifer Whillans and Katey Matthews, University of Manchester

Sight loss and low income have been linked in a new study commissioned by Thomas Pocklington Trust. Older people from disadvantaged backgrounds are at far greater risk of developing sight problems than those from wealthier sections of society, researchers at the University of Manchester have found.

Key Facts: Sight loss and low income

  • The poorest fifth of the population are almost 80 per cent more likely to develop severe visual impairment compared to the wealthiest fifth.
  • Sight loss can be linked with a lower standard of living, a reduced income, decreased social engagement and depression.
  • Smoking, diabetes and hypertension are associated with an increased risk of developing moderate or severe vision impairments.

How could this research help?

The report advocates for minimising social and economic risks for sight deterioration through early diagnosis, easy access to free corrective lenses, and policy changes to mitigate the costs associated with vision loss in older people.

Links: 

Research Findings: Changes in Vision in Older People: Causes and Impact – PDF version and Word version