The Macular Disease Society is a registered charity dedicated to helping people with visual loss secondary to macular disease. The commonest problem in the macular area is macular degeneration, which accounts for almost 50% of all visual impairment in the developed world.

It usually affects people over the age of 50yrs and is known as age-related macular degeneration (ARMD or AMD).

There are other much rarer forms of macular disease, often termed “macular dystrophies”, which can affect younger people and occasionally run in families. Macular disease can also be secondary to diabetes, injury, infection and inflammation.

The society aims to provide information, support and promote independence for those suffering from macular disease. The society has more than 30 patient information leaflets covering a wide range of macular disease-related topics. There are around 16,000 members and support is via the helpline, counselling, advocacy and low vision services. Members receive a quarterly magazine entitled Side View, written by the members and available in large print or CD. There is also an annual scientific journal, Digest, which is distributed to eye care professionals.

A recent review of the organisation revealed that much of the work undertaken by the society is highly valued by patients and healthcare professionals. However, many patients surveyed also revealed an overwhelming dislike of the word “disease”, something which is thought to deter some people from seeking the society’s assistance. From January 2013 the society will have a new logo and is dropping “disease” to simply become the Macular Society.

The HELPLINE number is 0300 3030 111