MOST new visual impairment diagnoses in Barnsley last year were due to preventable causes, new figures have revealed.

Office for Health and Disparity analysis shows 137 Certificates of Visual Impairment were given to people in Barnsley in 2022/23.

Of these, 65 were due to age-related macular degeneration - a disease that blurs central vision.

A further 13 were due to glaucoma and 11 due to diabetic eye disease.

These are all considered preventable causes of sight loss.

The Royal National Institute for Blind People (RNIB) said investment in eye health and earlier diagnosis and treatment are essential for preventing unnecessary sight loss.

Louise Gow, RNIB’s clinical lead for eye health, optometry and low vision services, said: “It is important to ensure everyone has access to regular routine eye checks, and for barriers to be removed to those who may face added challenges in getting their sight checked.

“To help slow the increase rate, we also need to invest now in a national eye care strategy for England which would put more emphasis on eye health and reduce NHS delays and streamline processes so people get quicker assessment and treatment.”

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A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “No one should have to suffer avoidable sight loss.

“This is why we are taking action to tackle some of the main causes of sight loss including smoking and obesity.”

They said over £500m is invested annually on providing free NHS sight tests, that can detect sight threatening conditions early.

“The numbers of adults between 16-64 becoming visually impaired from diabetic retinopathy has fallen by almost a fifth since 2010, because of the diabetic screening programme and a range of new treatments has improved the prognosis of those diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration,” they added.