Iris

Eye Health – preventing sight loss in London

Date published: 
05 December 2017

Eye health is a growing issue in London and we expect to see many more Londoners living with eye conditions in the future.

London faces challenges around prevention, diagnosis and treatment of sight-threatening conditions, but many cases of sight loss are avoidable.

It is critical that eye health becomes a greater public health priority in London and more needs to be done to encourage Londoners to look after their eyes and go for regular eye tests.

The Mayor should challenge London’s health leaders to integrate eye health into their plans. The committee is calling on the Mayor to support the development and implementation of a Londonwide Eye Health Strategy. 

Lisa's story - sight loss in London

Key facts

  • Sight loss costs London’s economy £6.4 billion - around £750 per Londoner, per year.
  • By 2030, an extra 194,000 Londoners are predicted to have a sight-threatening eye condition and an extra 74,000 with sight loss.
  • Already one in twelve adults in London has a sight-threatening eye health condition.
  • For those with sight loss, the risk of injury from a fall and the rate of hip fractures is almost twice as high, compared with people with good eye health.
  • Within 20 years of diagnosis nearly all people with Type 1 diabetes and almost two thirds of people with Type 2 diabetes will have some degree of retinopathy, the most common cause of sight loss.

Recommendations

  • The Mayor should work with the eye health sector to help develop and implement a Londonwide strategic plan for eye health.
  • The Mayor should ensure that the Thrive LDN mental health programme and the London Healthy Workplace Charter include support for people with eye health conditions and sight loss
  • The Mayor should use his profile to highlight eye health risks for disadvantaged groups and support the use of community champions to promote eye health.
  • The Mayor should promote vision screening for four and five year olds and ensure that eye health is included in the forthcoming Healthy Early Years Programme.

Feedback

Mike Burdon, President of the Royal College of Opthalmologists:

"The report is music to the ears of all of us who have dedicated our lives to the prevention of blindness, restoration of sight, and provision of support for those with sight loss. What struck us most throughout our investigation was the level of consensus about what needs to be done.... In conclusion, the report is an excellent summary of the issues and a foundation for transforming the eye health of Londoners."

David Probert, Chief Executive, Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust:

“We welcome the London Assembly’s report on eye health and its recommendation that the Mayor of London develops and implements a London eye health strategy. As London’s leading NHS eye care provider, we valued the opportunity to engage with the development of the report and its recommendations. We look forward to working with the Mayor on the strategy.”

Helen Lee, Policy Manager - Advocacy Directorate, Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB):

"We are delighted at the publication of the London Assembly Health Committee report on eye health. It is a powerful and insightful report, we certainly welcome it and will be urging the mayor to take the recommendations forward."

Follow us @LondonAssembly to hear more. Please share the report with #AssemblyHealth and #SightLoss