Causes of Blindness in the UK

Loss of sight can occur as a result of disease, defect or injury; it may develop gradually or suddenly or be present from birth. Blindness is defined differently from country to country; in the UK, people are said to be blind if they are unable to perform any work for which eyesight is essential. Partial sight has no specific legal definition, but it is a lesser visual disability that can still affect a person’s lifestyle or employment. It is not the same as poor vision, which can be corrected with glasses or contact lenses.

Blindness in Children

Blindness in Children

Most conditions that cause blindness in young people are congenital (that is, present from birth). They include disorders of the retina; cataracts; problems caused by infection during pregnancy such as rubella or toxoplasmosis; and eye development problems leading to wasting of the optic nerve (optic atrophy). The most common cause of reduced vision in children is amblyopia – or ‘lazy eye’ – which affects 6 per cent of the population. The condition tends to affect just one eye so is not usually defined as causing blindness or partial sight.