Guernsey’s Specsavers Guernsey store is hoping to raise £1,000 for the Guernsey Macular Society support group with a month of fundraising. The store will donate £1 from every eye test carried out in March to the society, which supports people with macular conditions including age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Store director Sarah Burchett says, ‘There are around 1,000 people in Guernsey with macular degeneration. It is a disease which causes sufferers to lose their central vision, usually gradually, and unfortunately there is currently no cure. It can have a huge impact on someone’s life as the loss of vision often means they can’t easily, or are unable, to perform everyday tasks such as driving, reading or watching television.
‘We really wanted to support the local group and raise awareness about macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of blindness in the UK.’
The Guernsey Macular Society support group was formed in 2014 to help people suffering from macular conditions by organising talks and giving them the opportunity to meet and socialise with fellow sufferers.
Guernsey Macular Society support group co-founder Bill Gardiner says, ‘The group does not need a great deal of money to continue its work but there are costs involved, and the money from the generosity of Specsavers will enable us to donate some to the Macular Society in the UK which funds essential research into macular degeneration. We’ll also be able to use the money to fund social events for members.
‘We are immensely grateful to the Specsavers Store staff for their initiative, which will enable us to promote optimism, determination and ingenuity for the people who suffer from macular degeneration.’
Macular degeneration develops when the part of the eye responsible for central vision (the macular) is unable to function as effectively as it used to. The vast majority of people with macular degeneration suffer from dry AMD, which tends to progress slowly. Sufferers will not go completely blind as their peripheral vision should not be affected but there is currently no treatment for the disease. About one in 10 people with macular degeneration suffer from wet AMD, which can develop quickly and cause the deterioration in vision within days if not treated, so prompt diagnosis is vital.
Suffers can be treated with injections of medication into the eyeball and laser treatment to slow down the progression of the disease.
Photo: Specsavers Market Street store director, Sarah Burchett (left), with members of the Macular Society support group.