Time to Focus report

The future of sight loss

Sight loss touches the lives of millions of people across the UK and the number is growing every day. And, yet, research for new treatments and cures is desperately under funded. Put simply, this is a public health crisis that cannot go on. Now is the time to focus and take action for the 2.5 million people who are living with sight loss in the UK. That’s why we commissioned our Time to Focus report to show the personal impact and wider costs of sight loss. Time to Focus is the combination of several reports commissioned by Fight for Sight that covers: the cost to the economy; the personal impact on all areas of life; research activity in the UK compared to the rest of the world; and the effect that Covid-19 has had on people living with sight loss and researchers in the sector.

Key findings
  • Workforce barriers and informal care for those with sight loss having huge impact on the UK economy – with the economic cost of sight loss now priced at £25.2 billion a year.
  • The cost could rise to £33.5 billion by 2050.
  • Quality of life of people with severe sight loss lower than that of people with depression, arthritis, and advanced breast cancer.
  • Reducing the prevalence of eye conditions by just one percent per year could avoid costs to the UK economy of up to £3.1 billion by the end of the decade.
  • The UK is a world leader in eye research, and Fight for Sight-funded research also has high impact. For example, UK eye research receives over 10 percent more citations than the world average, and Fight for Sight-funded research is cited 80 percent more.
Download the Time to Focus report here

We are calling on government and other funders to double research investment now as well as galvanising healthcare commissioners and providers to focus on prevention and take a holistic approach. We have also produced a unique costing model that enables government and health services to model the cost of future sight loss, and to see how reducing prevalence could make huge savings. The parameters are adaptable which makes this a unique model that can be adapted by nation and region. We need everyone to join us and be a part of the mission to end sight loss.

Watch our report launch event webinar now

Download the Time to Focus report
Download Time to Focus report (single page pdf version)
Time to Focus Report - text only version 


Personal impact

Between November 2019 and February 2020, Kaleidoscope Research carried out 12 in depth interviews and surveyed a further 749 people affected by eye conditions on our behalf, either online or by phone.

Download Appendix 1 - Time to Focus qualitative report 
Download Appendix 2 - Time to Focus quantitative report

Economic impact

We commissioned academics at the Care Policy and Evaluation Centre at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) to model the economic impact of eye conditions in the UK. The model was developed from a comprehensive review of over 350 publications based on costs and using Global Burden of Disease sight loss prevalence data for the UK. It considers many wider costs than previous models, including informal care and productivity, and can also be adjusted for different parameters.

Download Appendix 3 - Time to Focus report LSE 
Download Appendix 4 - costing model
Download Appendix 4 guide 

Research impact

We commissioned Clarivate to undertake an extensive bibliometric analysis to find the extent of the UK’s involvement in eye research globally. Bibliometrics attempt to assess the academic quality of journals or authors by statistical methods such as citation rates. Using this they have compared papers published by UK based authors against research from across the globe, and compared research commissioned by Fight for Sight against other funders.

Download Appendix 5 - Clarivate bibliometric report 

Covid-19 impact

In March 2020, Covid-19 impacted all areas of our lives as the Government ordered us to stay at home and reduce contact with others. We ran two surveys to explore the how the effects of lockdown on people who live with eye conditions and researchers in the eye health sector.

Download Appendix 6 - personal sight loss survey 
Download Appendix 7 -  Covid-19 researcher survey