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Sight ranked the most valuable sense

Sight ranked the most valuable sense

Monday 07 October 2019

A new study by the City, University of London has found the UK general public rank sight as the most valuable sense you possess.

Researchers at City surveyed 250 adults within the UK general public of all backgrounds, ethnicities and sex. The results found that as a collective the UK finds sight it’s most valuable sense, just edging out hearing and balance in second and third place respectively.

Participants in the survey also completed a time-trade off exercise (TTO). This is a common test used by health services to estimate the impact of a condition. The participants were asked to compare ten years without their sight as opposed to a certain length of time with perfect health.

It was proven that the subjects would rather choose on average, 4.6 years of perfect health over living the next ten years without their sight. For comparison, second place hearing averaged a score of 6.8 years of perfect life compared to ten years without hearing.

David Crabb, Professor of Vision and Statistics at City, University of London and Director of the Crabb Lab which conducted the study said,

“It’s so important to understand what the public and patients’ perceptions and fears may be when it comes to the loss of the senses, as this should inform how health professionals triage and support them when loss occurs. While sensory loss can be devastating, it’s important to educate the public on how they might cope and adapt.

For example, we also recently published a study on age-related macular degeneration, which is by far the most common cause of blindness in the UK. It suggests that the guidance and advice of the diagnosing health practitioner may play a key role in how the person perceives the impact of the condition on their daily lives and of it worsening in the future."

While the findings of the study suggest the public strongly value their sight over their other senses, it is important to note their judgements may be based on limited information on what a state of sensory loss might be like and not from experience.


  1. City AC.
  2. Optician Online.



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