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Blindness and eye disease costs economy £6.5bn

Blindness and eye disease costs the UK economy nearly £6.5bn a year, according to research.

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) also estimates that the impact on quality of life, including loss of healthy life and premature death costs society £15.5bn.

RNIB estimates that the number of people with sigh loss is set to double to nearly four million by 2050.

Findings were based on a two-part report commissioned by RNIB called Future Sight Loss UK.

It urged the government to consider encouraging ethnic minority groups to seek access to eye care services, as they are less likely to seek help.

Partial sight and blindness from age-related macular degeneration is set to increase by 31% by 2020 and sight loss due to cataract will increase by 20% between 2010 and 2020.

Sight loss due to diabetic retinopathy is to increase by around 16% in the same period and glaucoma-related sight loss could increase by 25%, the study warns.

In the African-Caribbean sub-group, sight loss due to glaucoma is set to increase by 57%, the study adds.

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