Dr. Abhishek Mandal, Ph.D.
Senior Business Adviser, Vision Science Academy, London, UK
Vision Science Academy Exclusive
Caring for eyes is pivotal to the general health of the masses. A poor quality of vision not only decreases our productivity, but also progressively endangers our personal, social, educational, and economic wellbeing. Therefore, having an up-to-date system of vision healthcare should be the foremost priority of professional eye specialists. The question is however, what features constitute a high-quality eye healthcare system?
Qualities of an Ideal Eye Care System
According to experts, following are a few key qualities of a high-standard eye care system:
- Safe practices
- Evidence-based effective approach
- Provision of patient-centered care
- Avoidance of time delays
- Efficient use of healthcare resources
- Uniform provision of eye care services
In the United Kingdom, a comprehensive policy for eye care is being implemented in the healthcare system currently. This includes enhancing the degree of know-how pertinent to eye diseases among the general population as well as promotion of eye screening services for the at-risk individuals.
Eye Care Statistics in the UK
The eye care system of the UK caters the needs of over 8 million individuals annually. The field of eye care represents the second-highest number of patients who attend the outdoor clinics in the UK. Each year, more than 16 million free-of-cost eye examinations are conducted by the NHS while 800,000+ ocular procedures are being carried out in the country every year. The primary target population of eye testing include the following:
- Individuals aged 75 years or above; nearly 1.2 million old individuals in the UK have a defective vision.
- Premature children: more than 25,000 children aged under 16 years are partially sighted or blind.
- People from a poor socioeconomic background
- Black African individuals are particularly at high risk for certain forms of glaucoma.
- Patients suffering from diabetes, hypertension, or stroke
Healthcare Professionals in Eye care
Following table represents the current distribution of ophthalmologists and optometrists in the UK:
Following figures represent the current distribution of ophthalmologists and optometrists in the UK:
Prevalence of Vision Loss and Associated Factors
More than 2 million population in the UK currently suffers from partial or complete loss of vision. With the population growth however, these numbers are expected to double by 2050. Moreover, up to 350,000 men and women are either registered as blind or as partially sighted in the UK.
Following are the most prevalent causes of blindness in the country:
- Uncorrected error of refraction – ~40%
- Age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) – 23%
- Cataract – 19%
- Glaucoma – 7%
- Diabetic retinopathy – 5%
Healthcare Cost of the UK’s Eye Care System
The burden of eye disease costs the national economy of UK approximately £28 billion per annum.
To further breakdown the health costs, the NHS services bear an annual expenditure of £3 billion, indirect health costs are equivalent to £6 billion while the overall reduction in wellbeing creates a cumulative deficit of £19 billion every year.
- Eye health and sight loss stats and facts. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.rnib.org.uk/sites/default/files/Eye%20health%20and%20sight%20loss%20stats%20and%20facts.pdf
- Eye Health Needs Assessment. (2018). Retrieved from https://www.england.nhs.uk/south/wp-content/uploads/sites/6/2019/02/wessex-eye-health-needs-assessment-2018.pdf