The dementia dilemma

2 August 2023
Summer 2023

With the number of people living with dementia on the rise, Becky McCall asks: how can practitioners ensure that these patients get the eye care they need?

By 2051, there are projected to be more than two million people in the UK with dementia – up from the current 900,000 people living with the disease (Alzheimer’s Society, 2023). Approximately one-third of those with dementia also have significant sight loss (RNIB, 2023). Taken together, this increased volume of people with both dementia and visual impairment means multidisciplinary healthcare services need to draw on the best of their integrated plans – including the NHS Long-term plan – to see what is coming down the track and tackle it head-on.  

Much of the rising demand for healthcare services – including eye care – is due to the projected 60% increase in the number of people aged 65 years and over by 2040 (Office for National Statistics (ONS), 2016). Incidence of dementia also rises dramatically in the oldest of the old, with around 1.7% of people with the diagnosis aged from 65 to 69 compared with 40% of people over the age of 95 (Shah et al, 2017).

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