A new poll has found that one third, or four in ten, British citizens either know someone with or experience sight loss, and a further  third (33%) of these people have experienced mental health issues.

The poll, conducted online by YouGov on behalf of Fight for Sight, also shows that 84% of Brits fear losing their sight more than any other sense, with 40% saying that not being fully independent would worry them the most about this.

Dr Neil Ebenezer, director of research at Fight for Sight, said that the research is “sadly unsurprising.”

He went on to say that the charity is “keen to raise awareness of the personal impact of sight loss and the need for more research into conditions like age-related macular degeneration, which can often severely affect people’s quality of life.

“Due to an ageing population, the number of people living with sight loss is set to rise significantly. In order to develop new treatments, we need more research.

According to the charity, there are currently two million people living with sight loss in the UK, and by 2050 this is set to double to four million.

Dr Neil went on, “We are excited that the ICAP Global Challenge Fund could accelerate the discovery of a new treatment for AMD. Its successes will support future teams and scientific leaders to address the challenges of age-related macular degeneration, with the hope of ultimately developing a more effective treatment.”

Sight loss has the potential to cost people their livelihoods, well before their retirement. Premature loss of livelihood, as well as feelings of isolation and loneliness may go some way in accounting for findings that more than four in ten people attending low vision clinics are suffering from symptoms of clinical depression.