More research needs to be funded in order to prevent hundreds of thousands of people losing their sight due to macular disease, the Macular Society has highlighted at the beginning of Macular Week (23–30 June).
The national charity has emphasised that macular disease is the biggest cause of sight loss in the UK, with around 300 people diagnosed daily, including adults and children.
Chief executive of the Macular Society, Cathy Yelf, said: “Macular disease is cruel and isolating. Day to day we hear from people about the devastating impact it has on their lives – taking away their dreams and plans for the future. And yet, despite its devastating impact, too little is known about its causes and for the majority of people affected there is not even a treatment, let alone a cure.”
To mark Macular Week, which was established by the Macular Society five years ago, the charity is sharing the story of Kelly Ephgrave, who was diagnosed with macular disease 29 years ago.
A video from the Macular Society
Ms Ephgrave, who has an inherited form of macular disease, said: “Research into macular disease is so important to improve the future of people who are living with macular disease. As an adult, the list of things I can’t do is getting bigger and bigger. I don’t want my children to have that. I want my boys to do anything they want to do.”
Ms Yelf added: “Today, more and more people are being diagnosed with macular disease. It is already a major public health crisis with far more people living with macular disease than dementia. We must stop it in its tracks.”
Vision Express has partnered with the Macular Society during the week to help it in its bid to highlight that more awareness of macular conditions the needed.
The multiple and the Macular Society shared that macular disease is now more prevalent than dementia and is forecast to become an epidemic unless an extra £6m a year is invested in research.
Vision Express and the charity's latest collaboration extends a four-year partnership, which most recently saw the multiple raise over £100,000 for the charity’s research programme.
Paralympic sprinter and the Macular Society ambassador, Zac Shaw (pictured above), who was diagnosed with Stargardt disease when he was nine-years-old, is supporting the campaign.