About the study
Survey data are an underutilised resource in visual impairment research. Because the data already exist, secondary analysis is a very cost effective form of research. And because the data cover a representative sample of the whole household population, people with visual impairment can be compared with those without. However, the definitions of visual impairment used on British national surveys vary form study to study, and are often not ideal. The data needs to be used with an understanding of this context.
Potential Policy Impact
The purpose of the study was to identify and describe what national general population survey data are available that allow us to compare the circumstances of people with visual impairment with that of the rest of the population. Secondary analyses of this type enable researchers to establish whether or not people with sight loss are less likely than the rest of the population to, for example, meet socially with friends, be able to access health services, or be in employment. Such findings are relevant for inequalities monitoring and targeting policy.
To be eligible for inclusion in the review, surveys should
• Covered a national British population
• Used a general population sample
• Generated by random probability sampling
• Fieldwork in the last decade
• Included adult respondents
• Have publically accessible data and documentation
• Included at least one question on: types of health conditions, disability, impairments, or included the words 'sight', 'see', 'vision' or 'visual' in a relevant capacity.
Some surveys were excluded because, while relevant data were collected, the necessary level of detail on type of impairment was not archived.