LONDON, November 27, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --
The UK is facing an eye health ticking time bomb warns a national charity, which could have serious implications for the economy, health services and society.
The National Eye Research Centre today (27 November) launched its campaign inSIGHTS to a healthy future, calling upon Government, health and eye care organisations to increase research funding in the face of a predicted explosion in eye disease catalysed by an increasing elderly and more obese population. It is being supported by RNIB, Macular Society and Diabetes UK.
The campaign follows new analysis by the National Eye Research Centre which reveals:
- The ageing population and rise in obesity-related diabetes is already having a significant effect on levels of eye disease in the UK;
- A conservative estimate that by 2050 some 3 million over 65s, equating to one in six elderly people, will have a degree of sight loss that will have a significant impact on their daily lives - this is based on current rates and future demographic and eye disease projections;
- The real scale of the problem is not known as it is not measured in a comprehensive way;
- Eye health is a rare feature on hospital targets as it is not normally immediately life threatening, despite the fact that blindness is one of the most feared health conditions after cancer;
It is estimated that 88,000 people a year currently develop age-related macular degeneration, the most common form of blindness.
Over half the population are forecast to be obese by 2050 and diabetes is a common consequence. Diabetes is on the rise, the risk to people with diabetes of developing glaucoma is 50% higher; and they have a threefold increased risk of developing cataracts.
Mike Daw, Chief Executive at the National Eye Research Centre, stated: "Sight loss and eye disease cost the UK economy around £22bn a year.Published figures show that just one percent of all medical research charity funding goes into eye research. It is massively underfunded when compared to medical conditions such as cancer and heart disease.
"Eye disease research funding is simply not keeping up with the scale of the problem - a case in point being that our charity alone receives 50% more applications for funding than it can afford to support."
For further press information or to arrange media interviews, please contact: James Hargrave, JBP, +44(0)203-2670074
SOURCE The National Eye Research Centre