Visual Impairment

Published: October 2023

Visual impairment – encompassing people who are blind and partially sighted – can be present at birth or acquired at any age. It is more prevalent with increasing age and is often secondary to other disabilities. Vision loss is associated with lower rates of workforce participation and higher rates of depression and anxiety*. It can lead to social isolation and worsened mental health, cognition, independence, mobility and quality of life**.




  • Visual impairment is higher in older adults.
  • The number of people living with visual impairment is predicted to rise over the next 17 years.
  • There is a lack of robust local data on visual impairment.

How does Wakefield district compare…


Compared to the England average, Wakefield district has…

  • A similar percentage and rate of people living with sight loss
  • Statistically higher rates of people registered blind or partially sighted
  • Statistically similar rates of age related macular degeneration and diabetic eye disease
  • Statistically higher rates of glaucoma
  • Statistically higher rates of sight loss certifications

Certifications of Vision Impairment (CVIs) is a formal certification of sight loss and can be used to register with social services, as a route for people with visual impairment to access support. However, there are indications that not all people are getting certified when eligible or registering thereafter, and there is poor understanding of these processes and low awareness of the benefits among professionals*.

*RNIB’s Eye Care Support Pathway Insight Report

in recent years?

There is a lack of robust historical data on how the number of people with visual impairment has changed in Wakefield. The interactive dashboard below contains projections of the estimated number of people with visual impairment in Wakefield from 2023 until 2040. Given the association of visual impairment with age, as the population of Wakefield ages, the number of people predicted to have visual impairment rises.

The dashboard can be used to explore the trends in estimated numbers of people with visual impairment across different categorisations and ages. Click on the buttons at the top to navigate between the different measures.

What are the differences within Wakefield district?

vision inequalities


  • Visual impairment is higher amongst older adults both in terms of CVI registrations and cataract surgery admissions.
  • Compared to predicted numbers and population prevalence, Wakefield’s CVI register has higher numbers of younger adults (aged 18-64) and lower numbers of older adults (65+). Note: the predicted numbers and population prevalence should be taken as estimates – full details available in the Definitions section of the dashboard below. 
  • Cataract admission rates are higher in less deprived areas, a pattern which increases year on year from 2018/19 to 2022/23.
  • Cataract admission rates are higher for females than males in every financial year.
  • Cataract admission rates vary across neighbourhoods with financial year. Neighbourhood rates are displayed on a map which is colour coded showing the comparison against the district average figure.

The interactive dashboard below can be used to explore the inequalities in Certificates of Vision Impairment (CVIs) and cataract surgery admissions. It also provides a high-level overview of the estimated number of people with visual impairment from the RNIB. Click on the buttons on the left and at the bottom to navigate between the different measures. Use the filters section at the top to explore different categories and time periods (time periods available for cataract surgery admissions only). 

The RNIB’s Eye Care Support Pathway Insight Report provides a comprehensive representation of the ‘pain points’ people experience when trying to access services along the eye care journey. In particular, it highlights:

  • People’s experience, understanding and knowledge of the clinical journey can be confusing and complex.
  • Common issues include lack of information, advice and support early in the clinical pathway, but knowledge of support available – particularly between the NHS and social care – can be poor.

Further information

What support is available?