Our history

In 1987, Elizabeth Thomas was dismayed by the lack of support that she, and other people with macular disease, were offered. She founded the Macular Disease Society to help patients like her support each other.

In 1990 the Society started funding research. In the first few years funding averaged £8k a year.

Our counselling service was set up in 1999. Since then, it has helped many thousands of people struggling with sight loss to see a more hopeful future.

In 2008, we funded a research project close to collapse from lack of funds. The London Project to Cure Blindness  has since made headlines by restoring the sight of two people with wet AMD using a stem cell-based treatment.

By 2013 we were spending more than £451,000 on research, and had a new name: the Macular Society.

The present day

In 2019 our Advice and Information Service answered 15,000 calls and emails from people struggling with macular disease.

More than 420 local support groups across the UK provided friendship, information and a sympathetic ear to thousands of members.

And more than 1,400 volunteers demonstrated the skills and equipment to make everyday life easier, and help people continue doing the things they love.

For the first time, we invested more than £1m in research.

Read more about our impact in 2019 below.

And into 2020…

As the coronavirus pandemic hit, we made some big changes: our support groups now meet online, and our telephone counselling and befriending are more important than ever.

It’s been a busy 33 years, and we’ve come a long way. But macular disease continues to steal the sight of thousands of people in the UK every year, and we won’t rest until it is beaten for good.

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