People with learning disabilities are 10 times more likely to suffer with sight problems compared to the rest of the population, new research by SeeAbility and RNIB has revealed.

The research found that people with profound learning disabilities had the most severe eyesight-related problems, while 6 out of 10 people with a learning disability required glasses. On the back of the research, the charities are calling on all people with learning disabilities to ensure they get their eyes tested every two years. They’ve also called for optometrists and experts to show greater understanding of the needs of people with learning disabilities, and to make sight tests part of on-going health action plans.

The fear is, that with the population of people with learning disabilities set to increase by 12.3% by 2031, failure to address rudimentary problems now could result in far greater health problems later in life – at much greater expense to the public purse.

Former co-national director for learning disabilities, Scott Watkin, who has a learning disability, said: “I am a great example of how having the right eye health care can change your life. Sight tests detected major problems with my vision and through eye surgery I have regained vision which has opened up all sorts of possibilities for me. If you get the chance to improve your sight – go for it. It changed my life: it’ll change your life too.”