More than 11,000 people signed our petition to end needless sight loss, after a Macular Society volunteer was forced to invade the headquarters of his local healthcare commissioners when he experienced delays to treatment.
Chris Thorley waited more than nine months for urgent treatment. Although he is now receiving treatment, he will never regain the sight he lost while he waited.
The petition calls on the Department of Health to prioritise eye health and put a stop to these unnecessary delays which lead to needless sight loss.
Thank you to everyone who took the time to add their signature to the petition, which the Society will be delivering to Downing Street.
Many more people told us that they’d experienced something similar to Chris, and shared their own stories of delays, poor treatment and lack of communication. Below are some of the comments of people's motivation for signing the petition.
"Because the same happened to me and no one was held accountable for my sight loss. Could have been treated successfully but held up by people who would not treat me as an individual with extremely needs for urgent treatment. Instead my case was sent to a panel meeting anonymously and treatment was declined."
"I have been diagnosed with macular degeneration and I dont believe there is enough information or help out there. I live in N.Ireland and the general attitude is you will probably lose your vision. Steps need to be taken to provude help and further research into these eye conditions!"
"My partner has lost his vision through this condition and the clinic is packed with people facing the same fate. He has had to stop work and faces an uncertain future. Sight loss causes more cost for the government than would be spent saving it."
"Someone I know has wet and dry macular degeneration in each eye and had a bleed in one and phoned clinic right away but was told he had to wait 9 weeks to be seen and by that time it was too late, scaring had occurred in one eye."
"I was diagnosed with AMD 18 months ago. I’m only 52 and have a long time left in Work sight permitting. It’s a postcode lottery for treatment and despite the media reports it is not a condition that affects the elderly."
"I'm at present having lucentas injections, started off monthly, now because of the situation in the NHS, the clinic in Belfast, the macular clinic, I'm now fortunate if I'm seen every two months...not good enough, was told at the start of my treatment how important it was to be seen every 4 weeks. The situation is far from satisfactory."
"My mother has lost much of her sight through AMD and her injections have always been so very far apart. Usually 12 weeks apart."
"Because I have family members who have this and its devastating to see someone rediced to shell of a person due to lack of available funds."
"I cannot imagine a worse situation than knowing that you are losing your sight and nothing is done to assist you and save the sight you have. Funding should be made available to help people in this situation."