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Sight impairment at age seven

Researchers: Sally McManus
Published: November 2012


We explored how sight impairment can affect young children in the UK.

We found that sight impairment can have a major impact on every aspect of a child's well being and development including their happiness, success at school and social inclusion.


44% of children with sight loss were bullied at school.

Children with vision impairment are more likely than those without to:

  • live in households with a weekly income below £300;
  • be bullied at school and struggle with school work;
  • have emotional, concentration or behavioural difficulties;
  • have difficulties making friends;
  • miss out on sport and physical activity;
  • and fall behind their sighted peers in reading, writing, maths and science.

Families with a child with sight impairment were more likely to fall behind with a bill payment, to say they were finding it difficult to manage financially and to have a low income.

The differences are most marked for children with sight impairment as well as another disability. They also experience the most difficulties in making friends and joining in activities with other children.


This report used the Millennium Cohort Study (MCS) - a longitudinal survey of 19,000 children born in 2000 - to profile the circumstances of children in the UK with sight impairment across a wide range of areas.

Read the report