Coinciding with World Sight Day today, a group of researchers from the UK from Cambridge, Belfast and Ulster have published in Acta Ophthalmologica the largest analysis of self-reported vision impairment in Europe. Named EUROVISION and funded by the European Commission, the group report today on the numbers of people who report problems with their eyesight in a survey of more than 300,000 people across Europe and associated risk factors.
In brief they show that 3% of men over 50 years report severe difficulty with vision and 4% of women, rising to 12% and 17% in those aged 85 and older, respectively. Aside from the inequality between men and women, being vision impaired was significantly associated with depression and social isolation and more common among those with lower income and less education. A UK subsample reported 2% of people aged 60 years and older declared a lot of difficulty or not being able to see at all despite optical correction.
The report also highlights the issue of dual sensory impairment (vision and hearing loss) where the odds of reporting social isolation are doubled. Self-reported vision impairment was more prevalent in Eastern and Southern European countries, than in Western and particularly Northern European countries. The European Coalition for Vision are assisting with the dissemination of this work with a letter to Members of the European Parliament highlighting the importance of vision impairment in Europe and a symposium scheduled for 16th World Congress on Public Health on 16 October 2020.
The EUROVISION paper has been published today to coincide with World Sight Day – click here to read the open access paper.