Why change?

Meet the growing demand for eye health services

Sight loss is an increasing reality for many people. The number of people likely to suffer from common eye conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and diabetic eye disease is expected to rise rapidly over the next 15 years. It is estimated that four million people in the UK will be living with sight loss by 2050 (Access Economics 2019).

The estimated amount of people in the UK that will be living with sight loss by 2050


The percentage of people over the age of 64 living with sight loss in the UK (RNIB internal report 2019)

The ageing population is resulting in a greater and more complex demand for eye services. In the UK, 79% of people over the age of 64 live with sight loss.

The experience of sight loss can be isolating and costly for the individuals affected, as well as their families and carers.

As more and more people will need treatment for eye conditions in the future, we need to make sure that their needs are appropriately supported. This means that the NHS needs to be more agile in adapting how hospitals and other NHS organisations provide services for patients, taking advantage of clinical and technological innovation.

To do this, we need to replace traditional hospital-based eye services with new models of care. By using technology and by training other health professionals, more patients could be seen in community settings near where they live.

Sources for statistics: 

Access Economics (2019), The economic impact of sight loss and blindness in the UK adult population [Online]. Available at: https://www.rnib.org.uk/professionals/knowledge-and-research-hub/research-reports/general-research/economic-impact-sight-loss

RNIB internal report (2019), Number of new certifications by age in England and Wales, April 2012-March 2013, RNIB.

Our current facilities

Our current buildings at City Road were built over 120 years ago at a time when hospital care was provided very differently to how it is now. The ageing infrastructure of the hospital and UCL IoO is increasingly difficult and costly to maintain, and the configuration of our existing building offers little scope for true integration between the clinical, research and teaching elements of our work. 

Although intermediate refurbishments go some way to improving the environment for our patients and staff, they are no substitute for integrated facilities that can modernise patient pathways and meet the growing demand for eye health services.

Currently, Moorfields and UCL IoO are in separate buildings at City Road and Bath Street. These separate buildings provide barriers to physical and cultural integration. The new centre at St Pancras will help us to change this. 

Creating a new, integrated centre will enable us to provide a better experience for our patients. For example, a fit-for-purpose design will support a reduction in waiting times for patients. A collaborative working environment will also support the bench to bedside research model– allowing earlier patient involvement and speeding up the time it takes to translate results into new treatments.

Additionally, having the centre in Camden’s Knowledge Quarter will place the new centre at the heart of an internationally renowned hub for science and innovation. Find out more about the proposed location on our why st pancras page.

The entrance of Moorfields Eye Hospital on City Road
The entrance of UCL Institute of Ophthalmology on Bath Street

Feedback from our patients and staff

Feedback from patients and carers over the past five years has been very positive about clinical care, but often includes criticisms about the quality of patients’ experience when visiting Moorfields.

Some patients have said that their journey through the current building is complicated so it takes longer for them to complete treatment or investigations during an appointment than necessary. A routine appointment can involve several different tests in different locations away from the initial consultation room. This is inconvenient for patients, particularly those who find it hard to navigate the building such as wheelchair users and makes the flow of patients through the hospital less efficient, meaning appointments take longer than they should. Our proposal will address these issues by putting patient experience at the heart of the building design.

Staff and patients have brought up in consultation that they would welcome the opportunity to improve the patient pathway. Within the design of the new centre, we are working closely with our patients and clinical staff to develop lay-outs and interaction of services to ensure optimal patient flow.

SeeAbility has been involved with Oriel from the outset and our environmental suggestions have been taken on board. For blind and partially sighted people, the additional space will enable the use of technological wayfinding services which will increase personal independence.

Wayne Chapman

London Eye Care Champion from national charity SeeAbility and a member of the Oriel partner advisory group

Listen to the RNIB Connect Radio podcast

Listen back to the interview with RNIB Connect Radio’s Allan Russel with Jo Moss and local GP Deepak Hora where they discuss the advantages of creating a new integrated centre for eye care, research and education.

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