Why your interview matters: The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)

“Understanding Society allowed us to look at people’s journey of sight loss and what impact that journey of sight loss will have on their wellbeing,” says John Slade, Policy Officer from RNIB

The RNIB provides help for everyone affected by sight loss. The RNIB used data from Understanding Society to look at the inequalities British adults with sight loss face. The report is called Living with sight loss – Updating the national picture

Question and Answers

Why did you use Understanding Society data?

Understanding Society interviews participants about a wide variety of areas and examines people’s longer-term routes; their health and well-being, financial circumstances and personal relationships.

What were your key findings from the report?

  • Participants with sight loss are nearly three times as likely as participants with no impairment to report feeling depressed.
  • Participants with sight loss are 24 times more likely than participants with no impairment to report bad or very bad general health.
  • Participants with sight loss are less likely to be in work than participants with no impairments.
  • Participants with sight loss are less likely to be high earners and more likely to be on a low income.
  • Participants with sight loss are more likely than those without impairments to have had difficulties accessing benefits services.
  • Participants with sight loss are more than four times as likely as participants with no impairments to report feeling they had been a victim of hate crime.

What survey questions did you use?

All participants to the Understanding Society survey were asked whether they had “any long-standing physical or mental impairment, illness or disability.” Participants who said yes were then asked whether this meant that they had substantial difficulties in various areas of their life, including “sight (apart from wearing standard glasses)”. We used this question to identify participants with sight loss.

What’s your message to our participants?

By taking part in the survey, you are providing the data that we need to ensure blind people get the support they require to play a full part in society.

What difference does this research make?

The RNIB’s new strategy aims to make everyday better for people living with sight loss. Understanding Society has helped reinforce some previous evidence that experiencing sight loss had a severe emotional impact on an individual. And because of its longitudinal nature RNIB will be using Understanding Society to track well-being over time.

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