The Macular Society has launched a petition today to stop people from needlessly losing their sight.
Every day, around 300 people are diagnosed with macular disease. It's the biggest cause of sight loss in the UK and many people are suffering permanent and severe sight loss because of hospital delays due to staff shortages and an increase in demand.
Day after day we hear of shocking variation in the quality of care offered to people with macular disease and the lengthy delays patients face as they wait to receive vital sight-saving injections.
Malcolm was diagnosed with macular disease a few years ago and due to the large number of people being diagnosed with macular disease and needing treatment, there were no NHS appointments available for him for a considerable time. His only options were to go private, paying £600-a-time for injections or to do nothing, and lose his sight.
Malcolm said: "Frankly, I was getting scared - this was my eyesight and my livelihood at stake. I have my own management services company and the deterioration in my sight started to affect my work."
People with macular disease rely on specialist consultant ophthalmologists for diagnosis, information and treatment of their condition. There is already a severe shortage of qualified ophthalmologists to cope with the demand due to lack of investment in training.
This problem is not going away and is only getting worse. Ophthalmology is now the busiest hospital outpatient specialty, and demand is expected to increase by 30-40% over the next 20 years. There aren't enough ophthalmologists being trained and it is time something is done.
This is why we’re launching a petition to ensure there are enough ophthalmologists trained and working across the UK, to meet the increasing demand. We need to work together to show that people with macular disease matter, and deserve adequate funding of the specialists that they will need.