If you are reading this, you are lucky. Macular disease is the biggest cause of sight loss in the UK, and a support group for people living with this condition just celebrated a milestone birthday.
The Macular Society Haslemere Support Group has been helping people for ten years, ever since Tom McNulty set up the group in 2014. To celebrate its anniversary, the group held a birthday tea at the Haslewey Centre on February 2. Mr McNulty travels far and wide with his guide dog Toby setting up support groups after he lost his sight 40 years ago.
“To start with I was too scared to leave my house. It was so lonely, but then I met a man who had been blind his whole life and he was still doing all the things he wanted to. I thought if he can do it, so can I. That’s why these support groups are so important, it brings people together, shows them they are not alone, that there is life beyond sight.”
Macular Society support group volunteer Tricia Sturgeon said: “Everyone had such a lovely time, coming together to mark the occasion and thank each other for their care and support over the years, as we adapt and live with different forms of sight loss. Here’s to supporting more Haslemere residents with sight loss over the next decade and beyond.”
Nearly 1.5 million people are affected by macular disease and many more are at risk. The disease can devastate people’s lives, leaving them unable to drive, read or see faces. People say losing their sight is like a bereavement.
The support group offers information, encouragement and friendship to people affected by macular disease and other sight loss conditions.