A third of Midlanders have serious sight problems, but the region is in denial over a sight-loss timebomb which could lead to figures doubling by 2025.
More than 300,000 people in the West Midlands have conditions such as cataracts, diabetes or glaucoma that can cause eyesight to deteriorate.
The figures, published today by the Royal National Institute of the Blind, also reveal 90 per cent of people fear losing their sight over any other sense.
Bill Alker, the charity's spokesman for the region, said the number of people affected will continue to rise as the ageing population grows.
He said: "People really don't have a grasp of what this means, they just don't think they will lose their sight or become visually impaired in any way.
"But because we are living longer sight problems are becoming much more common, and obviously those will deteriorate as people get older."
Despite such warnings, two out of three Midlanders believe they will not have sight problems in later life.
Mr Alker, who was born partially-sighted, said vision loss costs the country £4.9 billion a year through loss productivity and increased social care costs.
He said: "The chance of losing your sight rises dramatically as people get older.
"The perception is that to lose your sight would be the end of the world, and as a result you would become totally dependent on others."
The RNIB is calling on the Government to invest more than £400 million into services and a national awareness campaign, as it stages the world's largest conference on the issue. More than 2,000 health-care experts and professionals from 70 countries will meet in London for the four-day Vision 2005 event.
Mr Alker added: "People who are blind, partially sighted or have conditions like glaucoma or age-related macular degeneration (AMD) don't benefit from corrective measures like glasses or contact lenses.
"As part of Vision 2005, we are calling on the Government to invest an extra £420 million in eye care to improve treatment of long-term conditions at a national level. We would also like to see some of that go towards improving care and facilities for those with partial or total loss of vision.
It is also vital that the Government backs a public campaign urging people to have regular check ups." However, it is not just people who suspect they may have sight problems who will be targeted by the proposed campaign.
According to the RNIB, more than 13 million motorists in Britain cannot see properly, and therefore their affect their judgment and ability to drive safely. "This is why it's so important for people of all ages to have regular check-ups with their optician, because they can now identify more conditions than just long or short sightedness," added Mr Alker.
"Now new digital technology is available, serious problems such as cancerous cells or tumours or wet AMD which can result in loss of vision, can be identified much earlier.
"People may deny they could have sight problems in the future, but our study shows there is a real fear of losing that sense."