A charity supporting elderly people with macular disease is one of many urgently appealing to the Chancellor to provide financial support during the coronavirus crisis.

The Macular Society, which provides practical and emotional support to tens of thousands of people with the most common form of blindness in the UK, says its income is threatened but it cannot abandon its beneficiaries when they need help more than ever.

Cathy Yelf

Cathy Yelf, chief executive of the Macular Society, said:

“Charities cannot furlough staff when the support they provide is so vitally important. We must be there for the most vulnerable in our society. Sight loss already causes terrible loneliness, isolation and often severe depression and anxiety. We need urgent help to maintain services.”

Charities are predicted to lose billions of pounds in the next 12 weeks. The Macular Society has written an open letter (attached) to the chancellor Rishi Sunak, to urge more to be done.

Macular disease is the biggest cause of sight loss in the UK, with around 300 people diagnosed every day. Nearly 1.5 million people are currently affected and many more are at risk. The disease can have a devastating effect on people’s lives, leaving them unable to drive, read or see faces. 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.

For more information on macular disease, call the Macular Society on 0300 3030 111 or email help@macularsociety.org