Research estimates suggest that approximately 19% of the population over the age of 75 years are blind or partially sighted (Evans JR, 2002). As the population is projected to increase, with a larger proportion over the age of 65 years this will mean that a greater number of York residents will experience these conditions.
In the UK there are five leading causes of blindness and partial sight. These are age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, cataracts and refractive error (RNIB, 2009).
In the Public Health Outcomes Framework there are 4 measures concerning eye health; they cover 3 conditions deemed to be preventable to some extent and rate of blindness as recorded by Certification of Visual Impairment (CVI). The first data to be collated is from 2011/2012 and serves as a baseline.
Crude rates of conditions giving rise to preventable sight loss in York, Yorkshire and the Humber and England are shown in the below table.
|Indicator||York||Yorkshire & Humber||England|
|Preventable sight loss Age-related Macular Degeneration, crude rate per 100,000 people aged 65 and over||130.6||133.9||110.5|
|Preventable sight loss due to glaucoma, crude rate per 100,000 people aged 40 and over||13.6||19.7||12.8|
|Preventable sight loss due to Diabetic Retinopathy, crude rate per 100,000 people aged 12 and over||-||6.5||3.8|
|Preventable sight loss – sight loss certifications (CVI) per 100,000 population||47.5||63||44.5|
York is similar to England for all of these measures, i.e. not significantly different, although the higher rate of Age-related Macular Degeneration in the Yorkshire and Humber region including City of York, is perhaps worthy of further investigation.
Many of these conditions are associated with existing risk factors for poor health which can be improved, including stopping smoking, reducing obesity and increasing physical activity; however some of the conditions are associated with a family history of the condition, or environmental factors.
Given the projections with regard to our ageing population, and the increase in prevalence of these conditions with increasing age, it is important that individuals attend for regular eye examinations to identify these conditions early enough for potential interventions to be initiated.