Sight matters

Two images of a smiling man. One is obscured by a patch of blurred vision

Vision is a sense that most of us take for granted – an integral part of how we navigate, interact with people and live our lives in the world. But for people with retinal eye diseases, the ability to see is anything but certain.

To shine a light on what it means to lose one of our most important senses, we conducted a survey of 2,000 adults in the United Kingdom (UK) to ask ‘what would you miss most if you lost your sight tomorrow?’1

Here's what they said:

Illustrated pie chart of the study’s findings -  40% for seeing the people who are most important to me; 36% for getting around in the world independently; 17% for pursuing interests and hobbies; 4% for physical activities and sports; 3% for arts and culture

 

Two in five respondents answered that they would miss seeing the people who are most important to them. Among those aged 25-35 years this was even higher – more than half said this is what they would miss most. One in three said they would most miss getting around independently (driving, walking, etc.), and nearly one in five said they would feel a loss when it comes to pursuing hobbies such as reading, browsing the internet, or photography.1

Watching a film, seeing a loved one smile, driving to a concert – for many of the things we love doing most, sight matters. Vision loss can have a devastating impact on those affected and their families, reducing quality of life by removing the ability for people to perform daily tasks, severely limiting their independence.2

For instance, people with diabetic macular edema (DME) score more poorly on mental health, social limitation and dependency scales than those with normal vision, and people with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) report feelings of frustration, annoyance, and express concerns at coping with everyday life.3,4 Similarly people with geographic atrophy (GA), an advanced form of AMD, have difficulty recognising faces, which can strongly impact their social life and often leads to feelings of isolation.5

It’s no surprise then that reduced or lost vision is associated with increased social isolation, depression and anxiety disorders.2

Know the symptoms, and talk to your doctor if you are experiencing any loss of visual function.

References

  1. Roche data on file.
  2. Park SJ, Ahn S, Woo SJ, et al. Extent of Exacerbation of Chronic Health Conditions by Visual Impairment in Terms of Health-Related Quality of Life. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2015; 133:1267-1275.
  3. Hariprasad SM, Mieler WF, Grassi M, Green JL, Jager RD, Miller L. Vision-related quality of life in patients with diabetic macular oedema. The British journal of ophthalmology. 2008; 92:89-92.
  4. Hassell JB, et al. Impact of age related macular degeneration on quality of life. Br J Ophthalmol 2006; 90:593-6.
  5. Sunness JS. The natural history of geographic atrophy, the advanced atrophic form of age-related macular degeneration. Mol Vis 1999; 5:25.

Tags: Ophthalmology