Coming to terms with the prospect of losing your sight is one of the most difficult challenges a person can face. As our population ages, more and more people are being affected by macular disease. It has never been more important for people with the condition to be able to access information on how to make living with sight loss easier.

The Macular Society is the only charity determined to beat the fear and isolation of macular disease with world-class research, and the best advice and support. With the help of its members and supporters, it:

  • Funds research into a cure so that future generations won’t suffer from sight loss caused by macular disease
  • Continues to help people of all ages adapt to life with sight loss, by supporting them to regain confidence and independence so they can take back control of their lives.

The UK’s biggest cause of blindness

Macular disease is the biggest cause of blindness in the UK. Nearly 1.5 million people are currently affected. And, the number of people with it is set to double in the next couple of decades. The disease can have a devastating effect on people’s lives, leaving them unable to drive, read or recognise the faces of their closest friends and family. Many people affected describe losing their sight as being similar to bereavement. There is still no cure and most types of the disease are not treatable. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common form of macular disease, affecting more than 600,000 people, usually over the age of 50.

Annemarie Taylor, Macular Society regional manager, said:

“We want to ensure the correct treatment, rehabilitation and support is available to everyone living with macular disease. We also provide funding for medical research, which will lead to a cure and end macular disease once and for all.

Although there is currently no cure, there are lots of things that can be done to slow the rate of its progression and limit its impact. We provide a range of information on diet and nutrition, the impact smoking, high blood pressure and obesity can have on your sight, and low vision equipment which can make everyday tasks that little bit easier.”

Boosting confidence and independence

The Macular Society’s regional managers, who are based all over the UK, visit a wide range of groups to talk about sight loss, raise awareness of macular disease and give advice on how to continue living independently with the condition.

Annemarie said:

“Our regional managers visit many groups across the UK which are interested in learning more about macular disease. Also, we now have more than 400 dedicated macular support groups, including in Bedford and many other locations across the region, with more forming all the time.

These groups provide a vital service, giving people with macular disease the opportunity to share experiences and learn from each other. They really can boost confidence and help people feel more independent. Most importantly, being part of a group helps those affected to remember they are not alone.”

The Bedford Macular Support Group meets on the third Monday of each month, from 10.30am-12.30pm, at Bedford Volunteer Centre, 43 Bromham Road, Bedford MK40 2AA.

For more information about macular support groups in and around Bedfordshire, please contact Annemarie Taylor on 01353 478 004 / 07787 248 815, or email: annemarie.taylor@macularsociety.org

For more information about the Macular Society and its work: