Registered Blind and Partially Sighted Persons, Scotland 2010

To present national figures on visually impaired persons registered with Local Authorities in Scotland.

This document is part of a collection

Section 4: Background Information

Data was collected on persons registered with local authorities as at 31 st March 2010. New cases are new registrations within the year from 1 st April 2009 to 31 st March 2010.

The information is derived from returns made to the Scottish Government by Scottish Local Authorities. The return asks for the number of blind and partially sighted persons by age, sex and additional disabilities. It does not include persons who may meet the criteria for being blind or partially sighted but have not registered with their Local Authority.

The Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 gives Local Authorities the power to maintain a register of people who are blind or partially sighted. However registration is voluntary and while registration provides access to a number of benefits and concessions there remain a large number of people who meet the criteria but are not registered. Research in 1991 1 undertaken at a UK level, indicated that the number of people on registers is some 23 per cent of those eligible. In 2001 they estimated it to be under a third.

'Think dual sensory' published in 1997 by the Department of Health suggested that some 2,000 people in Scotland could have some degree of deafblindness. Our latest figures show that there are 1,473 people registered as deafblind in Scotland and a further 1,003 people registered as partially sighted and deaf. This suggests that people are more likely to register if they have multiple disabilities.

Additionally, there are known data problems prior to 2000 where people have not been removed from the register of blind and partially sighted persons. Many Local Authorities have in recent years improved their registers by comparing with the register of deaths and this may in part explain the decrease in the number of registered blind persons since 2000. Therefore, care should be taken when commenting on trends as the fall in numbers since 2000 is explained in part by improvements in reporting procedures by some Local Authorities.

All calculate rates per 1000 population in this Statistics Release have been based on the appropriate mid-year population estimate from GRO(S). 2010 rates have been calculated using the 2009 mid-year population estimate for example.

Data issues and changes from Previous Years

West Lothian's 2000 partially sighted data, has been updated following the identification of an error. This means that the figures now differ from those previously published within the statistical releases.

Glasgow have substantially revised their figures in recent years following a move to a new management information system. This has resulted in improvements to data quality for 2006 and 2007 but care should be taken when comparing 2005 and 2006 figures as many of the changes seen are largely due to changes in the Glasgow figures. In 2008, they moved to a new management information system and have been cleaning the data as they transfer it. This has resulted in further changes to Glasgow's data, this work was ongoing in 2009 and has resulted in the 2009 figures being amended in this publication.

East Renfrewshire's figures for 2009 have been revised following the identification of an error within their data extraction query code.

In 2007, East Dunbartonshire undertook quality assurance on their data in 2008 and this led to reductions in their figures compared with 2007.

Fife were unable to provide complete information on additional disabilities. Care should therefore be taken when interpreting figures as a small amount of data has been estimated.

Edinburgh, Orkney, Dumfries and Galloway and Scottish Borders undertook data cleaning in 2009. Also in 2009 Dumfries and Galloway had an Eye Care Review; and Scottish Borders have a new Sensory Perception Unit. This work is ongoing in 2010, and Argyll and Bute, Dundee and South Lanarkshire have also undertaken data cleaning.

Further Information

Further details and analysis of the data presented in this Statistics Release are available on request from the address given below. The Statistics Release is available in large print and on the Internet by accessing the Scottish Government web site (

Community Care Statistics
Basement Rear
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

Contact: Steven Gillespie
Tel: 0131 244 3777

This statistics release was published on

26 October 2010

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