Skip Navigation
Search site

This is our old website. Most information can now be found on our new NHS Digital website. Let us know what you think.

Fall in older people registered as blind or partially sighted

September 02, 2014: New figures show a downward trend in the number of people aged 75 or over who are registered as blind or partially sighted.(2,3)

*HSCIC must be quoted as the source of these figures

*Regional figures are available

There were seven per cent fewer people aged 75 or above registered as blind (87,900 from 94,500)4 compared to 2011 when the report was last published, and five per cent fewer registered as partially sighted (94,300 from 99,100). Since 2003, registrations in this age group have continued to fall and show a 17 per cent decrease in blind registrations (87,900 from 105,700) and an 11 per cent decrease in partially sighted registrations (94,300 from 105,500) over this longer period.

Today's Registered Blind and Partially Sighted People report is published every three years by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) and contains detailed statistics on adults and children registered with their council as being blind or partially sighted.

The report shows a 17 per cent increase in children under five years registered as partially sighted (630 from 540 in 2011) and a three per cent increase in those registered as blind (740 from 710 in 2011).

Today's report provides a snapshot of the data at March 31 2014 in England and shows:

  • There are fewer people registered as blind (143,400, a fall of three per cent or 4,400) or partially sighted (147,700, a fall of two per cent or 3,300) compared to 2011, and since 2003 this is an eight per cent fall in registered blind (from 156,700) and five per cent fall in partially sighted people (from 155,200).
  • For children aged five to 17 years, there was a five per cent fall in registered blind compared to 2011 (3,500 from 3,700) and a one per cent fall for those registered partially sighted (4,600 from 4,700). However, compared to 2003, this represents a ten per cent and nine per cent increase respectively (3,200 to 3,500 and 4,200 to 4,600).
  • New registrations of blind people fell by three per cent compared to 2011 (8,900 from 9,100), but increased in partially sighted people (12,200, a rise of 3 per cent from 11,900).

HSCIC Chair Kingsley Manning said: "Today's report offers a view of the number of sight impaired people registered with councils in England.

"It is notable that despite our ageing population, there has been a fall in the numbers of people registered as blind or partially sighted in the 75+ age group. Today's findings are a useful resource for local councils so that they can provide the relevant services for people with sight difficulties."

You can find the full report at  


Notes to editors

1. The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) was established on April 1 2013 as an Executive Non Departmental Public Body (ENDPB). It is England's trusted data source, delivering high quality information and IT systems to drive better patient services, care and outcomes. Its work includes publishing more than 220 statistical publications annually; providing a range of specialist data services; managing informatics projects and programmes and developing and assuring national systems against appropriate contractual, clinical safety and information standards.

2. Registrations of blind or partially sighted people are voluntary and not automatic. People that have a Certificate of Vision Impairment from an ophthalmologist choose whether or not to be included in their local authority's register of blind or partially sighted people. This means that not everybody that has been certified as having a visual impairment is recorded on a local authority register.

3. Today's report shows data from 1982 onwards, however in this news release we have looked at data from 2003 onwards to give an 11 year time series.

4. Figures over 1,000 have been rounded to the nearest 100 and figures under 1,000 have been rounded to the nearest 5. Percentages are rounded to the nearest whole per cent and are based on unrounded figures.

5. For media enquiries please contact or 0300 30 33 888.

Close iCM Form