‘The Eyes Have It’ partnership will highlight the importance of eye health

The Royal College of Ophthalmologists and the Association of Optometrists have joined ‘The Eyes Have It’ partnership – a leading coalition of national organisations campaigning to improve the lives of patients with deteriorating eye conditions.

The partnership was set up in 2021 by Fight for Sight, the Macular Society and Roche Products.

More than two million people in the UK live with sight loss and eye conditions have been estimated to cost the UK economy £25.5bn a year. Ophthalmology is now the busiest specialty in the NHS, with more than eight million outpatient appointments in eye clinics and ophthalmology departments annually.

Professor Bernie Chang, president from the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, commented: “More than two million people in the UK are living with sight loss, and that figure is predicted to rise to four million by 2050.

“We have been impressed by the work carried out by The Eyes Have It partnership in raising political awareness of issues relating to sight loss and eye care, and we want to further bolster that work. To support better, more timely treatment for those living with sight loss, it is vital that we have proper investment in the eye care workforce and infrastructure across the whole patient pathway,” he added.

The coalition aims to raise awareness of the importance of eye health, as well as issues such as delayed referrals, service capacity, a shortage of clinical specialists and the emotional impact of delays to treatment.

Keith Valentine, chief executive from Fight for Sight, concluded: “Sight loss is one of the biggest health challenges we face as a country. To stop sight loss caused by eye conditions and diseases we need to work together to raise awareness, fund research to find new treatments and address issues faced by patients trying to access treatment.

“We are calling on the government to double investment in eye research which could transform hundreds of thousands of lives, save the economy money, and keep the UK at the forefront of ophthalmology research. The most recent available data shows that, in 2018, public bodies invested the equivalent of just £9.60 in eye research for each person with sight loss.”