Our Research Strategy

The impact of sight loss and blindness

In the UK, today:

  • More than 2.5 million people are living with a degree of visual impairment that significantly affects their daily lives.
  • Of these, over 350,000 are registered blind.
  • The number of visually impaired and blind people is increasing every year and it is set to increase to 3.5 million by 2050.
  • The effects of visual impairment and blindness can be profound and far reaching, including negatively impacting an individual’s mental wellbeing and financial independence.
  • The economic cost to the state is estimated at over £25 billion a year and it is predicted to rise to over £33 billion by 2050.
  • The direct health care system cost is estimated at over £3 billion a year and growing in an already stretched NHS.

There are resources today and technological advances that help visually impaired and  blind people live a better life than would have been possible in years gone by.  This is, for the most part, thanks to the outstanding work of national and local organisations which provide important sight loss support services. 

Working in a complementary way to our colleagues in the sight loss support services sector, our mission is to bring forward the day when sight loss and blindness are a thing of the past.

Our research strategy, Every patient matters: turning science into sight, outlines how we focus our funding on research that can directly benefit patients, as soon as possible.