Correct thinking: fixing uncorrected refractive error

5 May 2023
Spring 2023

A common cause of sight loss in the UK, uncorrected refractive error is easy to remedy, particularly if caught early. So, Kim Thomas asks, why do so many people live with uncorrected refractive error – and what can optometrists do to address it?

Two million people in the UK live with sight loss, of whom 800,000 (39%) have uncorrected refractive error (RNIB, 2021). The EPIC-Norfolk study, which examined 8,623 people aged 48 to 92, found that visual impairment was more likely in older people. It also discovered that, among the 63 participants with visual impairment or blindness, 28% of cases were as a consequence of uncorrected refractive error (Khawaja et al, 2013).

The condition is also the most common cause of visual impairment in school-age children in both industrialised and developing countries (Prakash et al, 2022; Robaei et al, 2006). It is a particular concern as, in the UK, the rate of myopia among children has doubled in the past 50 years (McCullough et al, 2016). 

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