Blindness marks the failure or inefficacy of ophthalmological treatment. Once a patient becomes permanently blind, he or she might be lost from the care of the ophthalmologist. This means that the ophthalmologist might not have personal experience of the size of the problem and might not be in a position to experience the relative incidences of different causes of blindness. The keeping of accurate statistics is of great importance, and in order to keep statistical records it is necessary to have a clear definition of blindness. Many people who dread blindness imagine having no perception of light in each eye. Fortunately,this situation is uncommon, but many people are severely debilitated by visual loss.

In the UK, the major problem is among the elderly where visual loss is often combined with defective hearing. Sensory deprivation is thus a major scourge at the present time; the problem is undoubtedly going to be much worse as the proportion of elderly people increases.

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