April 15, 2015
People with sight loss experience inequality across many areas of their lives. This report takes information from two national surveys, the Life Opportunities Survey and Understanding Society, to describe the extent of those inequalities for adults in Britain in the period 2010 to 2013. The report updates the findings of the previous publication from NatCen Social Research and RNIB, Circumstances of People with Sight Loss (2012).
1) Since the previous waves of Understanding Society and the Life Opportunities Survey, circumstances have worsened in some respects for blind and partially sighted people. 44 per cent reported feeling more than usually depressed, which was significantly higher than in the previous wave of the survey (38 per cent). 2) The proportion of blind and partially sighted respondents who earn £500 or more a week is significantly lower, at nine per cent, than in the previous wave of the survey (13 per cent). However, the proportion earning less than £200 a week is also significantly lower than previously (48 per cent compared to 54 per cent). 3) In other areas, such as accessing health and benefits services, respondents’ circumstances have remained stable since the last wave. 4) Key areas of inequality are employment, participation, and experience of hate crime. All three of these areas pose concern, as a much higher percentage of respondents with sight loss report difficulties than those without impairments.