In the same way that physical ability slows as people get older, vision deteriorates with age. From about the age of 40, most people will notice a decline in the ability to focus and the need for more light to see as they carry out normal everyday tasks. A Medical Research Council study estimated that one in eight people aged 75 and over will experience severe sight loss, rising to one in three of those aged over 90.1,2
With an ageing population, the prevalence of sight loss will only increase. Degrees of sight loss vary and few people are completely blind in both eyes. Good design will help maximise what functional vision these people have and flexible design will ensure that their surroundings can be adjusted to suit a particular condition.
As a designer working in healthcare, I had always been aware of the critical role the built environment has in supporting people experiencing sensory and cognitive decline. In November 2012, the importance of this was truly