The Somerset Eye Health Needs Assessment (EHNA) was published in 2013. It provides a comprehensive overview of eye health issues in Somerset. The prevention of sight loss is crucial as over 50 per cent of sight loss can be avoided, and amongst other issues, the EHNA examines ways of tackling the causal factors.
Facts and figures from the report regarding people with serious eye conditions in Somerset include the following:-
- In 2012 there were an estimated 5,463 patients on GP registers in Somerset with age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Based on ONS population projections, this is projected to increase by 35% by 2022.
- In 2012, there were 11,113 patients on GP registers in Somerset with a form of glaucoma. The number is projected to rise by 24% by 2022. Modelled data suggest there could be about 17,000 people with early signs of glaucoma that have not been recognised.
- On the Certificate of Visual Impairment (CVI) register in 2011, there were 1,410 people in Somerset registered blind, with a further 1,830 registered partially sighted.
- Note that estimates vary according to the different registers and models used.
The purpose of the EHNA and recommended strategy is:
- To identify the main priorities for improving eye health and reducing eye health inequalities in Somerset in the short-term; and
- To outline the direction for the development of NHS eye care services across Somerset, to meet the future needs of the population, over the next five to twenty years.
The key findings emerging from this analysis seek to aid effective decision-making, prioritisation and service development.
Three key messages arise from the analysis of the local eye health need in Somerset:-
- The burdens of eye disease, visual impairment and blindness increase exponentially with age (both for individuals and populations)
- Half of this is preventable if caught early
- Health outcomes of eye disease are significantly better if detected and treated early
To meet the eye health needs of the Somerset population, the following strategic outcomes should be met:
- Promotion of an effective preventative approach to improve eye health
- Choice of high quality accessible eye-care services to reduce avoidable sight loss
- Effective partnership working to support the independence of people who are sight impaired or severely sight impaired
The report includes the following sections:
- Key national policy and drivers
- The national eye health context
- Vision for eye care in Somerset
- The local context – eye health in Somerset
- Current activities, service provision and assets
- Workforce profile
- Priorities for Somerset
The full report is available below:
RNIB Sight Loss Data Tool
In 2014, the RNIB published a new version of its Sight Loss Data Tool. When downloaded, this enables the user to select for any Upper tier or Unitary Authority in the UK a range of indicators relating to sight loss. They include background demographic data from the 2011 Census and a mix of actual and estimated prevalance and cost data.
Further to the figures featured in the EHNA (above), the following apply to Somerset:-
- The NHS programme budget spend on vision problems in Somerset was almost £25 million (2011/12)
- Total estimated indirect costs (including informal care by friends and families) are £56 million a year
- Almost 20,000 people are estimated to be living with some form of sight loss, projected to reach 25,000 by 2020
- More than 6,000 are estimated to be living with a form of cataract
- More than 11,000 are estimated to be livi with background or an advanced stage of diabetic retinopathy
- In 2012/13, there were 136,250 NHS sight tests carried out in Somerset
- 15% of registered blind and partially-sighted people are also recorded as having an additional disability
- More than 1,100 falls are estimated to be directly attributable to sight loss
Children and young people:-
- There are an estimated 200 blind or partially-sighted children aged under 17 in Somerset
- There are an estimated 100 blind or partially-sighted people aged 17-25
- 34 pupils had a Special Educational Need (SEN) statement or School Action Plus with visual impairment as the primary SEN (January 2013)
The National Eye Health Epidemiology Model (NEHEM) also provides modelled estimates for the main sight loss conditions at a range of geographies including Local Authority.