NICE is committed to promoting equality, eliminating unlawful discrimination and fostering good relations between people with particular protected characteristics and others. In producing guidance and advice, NICE aims to comply fully with all legal obligations to: promote race and disability equality and equality of opportunity between men and women, eliminate unlawful discrimination on grounds of race, disability, age, sex, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity (including women post-delivery), sexual orientation, and religion or belief (these are protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010).
In people aged 50 and over, age-related conditions (such as Fuchs' endothelial dystrophy) or inherited corneal dystrophies may cause severe corneal opacity that can be painful, disfiguring and blinding. Also, in 10% to 20% of younger people with advanced keratoconus (severe and rapidly progressive disease) the cornea will eventually become too scarred or will not tolerate a contact lens and the diseased tissue will need to be replaced with a donor cornea (corneal transplant). Men may be at higher risk for corneal diseases than women. Keratoconus is more common in certain ethnic groups, particularly in people of Asian family origin. People who are registered as blind or sight impaired are deemed to have a disability. Other visually impaired people may be considered to have a disability if their condition significantly affects their ability to carry out daily activities in the long term. Age, sex, race and disability are protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010.