There is no robust evidence-base upon which to target the right prevention strategies, treatment, public health services and support to people who really need it.
Demand for eye health services is growing every year, and there is a real need to establish an up to date, accurate baseline for the UK’s eye health, for which we have no previous national data.
Until now, the UK eye sector has been reliant on a number of data sets which have been widely used and cited to inform assumptions about the prevalence and causes of vision loss and blindness. Yet there are severe limitations to this data which means that the UK lacks a robust evidence-base for eye health.
RNIB commissioned Access Economics in 2009 to explore the economic impact of partial sight and blindness in the UK adult population. The report used estimates of prevalence of partial sight and blindness in addition to direct and indirect health system costs. However, the data is now almost ten years out of date and requires a refresh.
The Royal College of Optometrists’ report ‘Better Data, Better Care’ found that whilst significant amounts of data are collected through General Ophthalmic Services (GOS) claims, these are not designed for ophthalmic public health work and therefore do not provide the data needed for good decisions.
A UKNEHS will provide population-based research to provide real data on the magnitude and distribution of the most frequent causes of sight and hearing loss. It will offer opportunities to look at these causes by risk factor analysis including demographic and social determinants of health.