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Circumstances of people with sight loss

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Researchers: Sally McManus
Published: June 2012

Aim

People with sight loss face a range of types of adversity in their lives. We analysed two major general population surveys to examine the nature and extent of this adversity, and to quantify inequality compared with the rest of the population.

Findings

People with sight loss are less likely to have a job

They are twice as likely to be unemployed and looking for work as people without any impairment, after controlling for different age and sex profiles.

The recession is likely to have had a disproportionate impact on sight impaired adults.

Affording the basic necessities is harder for people with sight loss

They are less likely than people without any impairment to be able to afford an annual holiday, eat fish or meat every other day, or be able to keep their home warm in winter.

Half of people with sight loss experience access difficulties outside the home

This is not a problem that only starts at the front door: a fifth experience access problems even within their own home.

Accessing health and other services can be difficult

People with sight loss are three times more likely to have difficulty accessing health care services than those without impairment. Other services also pose a problem.

Hate crime and disability discrimination remain real issues

People with sight loss are twice as likely to have experienced discrimination because of their disability than people with another type of impairment.

They are three times more likely to have been the victim of a hate crime than people with no impairment.

Subjective well-being is lower among people with sight loss

People with sight loss are seven times more likely to have been feeling unhappy or depressed ‘a lot more than usual’ than those with no impairment, after standardising the age and sex profiles of the different groups.

Methodology

This report presents secondary analysis of two of Britain's largest longitudinal datasets, Understanding Society and the Life Opportunities Survey.

Read the report