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Impact of COVID-19 on sight loss and blindness in the UK

The net impact on the cost of sight loss and blindness in the UK due to COVID-19 was estimated to be £1.7 billion. This is made up of a reduction in health service utilisation due to lockdowns, and an increase in cost due to delayed or missed treatments.

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The spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has led to major disruptions of health services, including routine hospital surgical procedures and services worldwide.

In 2019, the economic cost of sight loss and blindness was estimated to be £36.0 billion in the UK. In 2020, COVID-19 led to a net increase in cost of £1.7 billion, made up of:

  • A reduction of £0.77 billion due to a reduction in utilisation of ophthalmic procedures and services during lockdowns
  • An increase of £2.5 billion due to delayed or missed treatments.

Published: September 2021

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