By Adrian Galbreth
A landmark new study is to examine the impact that vision loss has on people, specifically how it affects their ability to take part in physical activity.
The research will be carried out by experts led by the European Centre for Environment and Human Health and will be conducted over a period of 12 months.
Funding has been provided by the Thomas Pocklington Trust, a registered charity that provides housing and support for people with sight loss, and candidates will be recruited form Cornwall, the East Midlands and London, the Western Morning News reported.
Experts will work with Loughborough University to help boost understanding of the restrictions in taking part in physical activity that older people with sight loss have to cope with.
In addition, it is hoped that the results will lead to the formation of new policies that can help to enhance the health and wellbeing of those affected by deteriorating vision.
Dr Cassandra Phoenix, primary investigator and project lead, said it will effectively give a voice to members of society who are often overlooked when health policy frameworks are constructed.
She told the newspaper the researchers are "delighted" to receive the research grant, which will help to deliver a study of "national relevance".
"As our population increases in age it is vital that we develop a thorough understanding of how we can use physical activity to improve our health, and ensure we maintain wellbeing through the ageing process," she explained.
"Along with our colleagues at Loughborough University, the European Centre is ideally placed to conduct this work, which will benefit the residents of Cornwall and beyond."
Sarah Buchanan, research director at the Thomas Pocklington Trust, noted that it will provide hope and assistance to the two million people in the UK who have sight loss which affects their everyday lives - the majority of whom are aged over 65.
by Martin Burns