This report, jointly funded by the RNIB and SeeAbility aims to estimate how many people with learning disabilities in the UK are likely to have visual impairments.
The presence of visual impairments can significantly impair the independence and quality of life of people with learning disabilities, but currently there is no national monitoring of the number of such people. The report uses epidemiological data from the Netherlands and Denmark to answer two questions:
1. How many people with learning disabilities in the UK are likely to have visual impairments?
2. How will this number change over the coming decades?
• approximately 50,000 people with LD who are known to services in the UK have visual impairment (19,000 children, 31,000 adults)
• an additional 15,000 are blind (4,000 children, 11,000 adults)
• there may be an additional 44,000 adults with learning disabilities and visual impairment and 11,000 with learning disabilities and blindness not known to adult health or social care learning disabilities services
• an estimated 32,000 children with learning disabilities have myopia (shortsightedness) ; 55,000 hyperopia (‘longsightedness’ )
• an estimated 11,000 adults with LD known to services have severe myopia and 8,000 severe hyperopia
The authors predict an approximate 0.5% rise in these figures each year over the next two decades
The Estimated Prevalence of Visual Impairment among People with Learning Disabilities in England, Emerson E & Robertson J, Improving Health and Lives: Learning Disabilities Observatory