We must act now to secure adequate funding to stop people needlessly losing their sight

When Malcolm noticed a change in his vision he went to his optician. Within minutes they identified he had a treatable form of macular disease and told him he needed an urgent appointment at his local hospital to stop him losing any more of his sight.

But, due to the large number of people being diagnosed with macular disease and needing treatment, there were no appointments available for a considerable time. 

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.

The treatment Malcolm needed is a series of injections into his eye, which could save what was left of his sight. The first injection must be given within two weeks of diagnosis.

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."

Malcolm's only options were to go private, paying £600-a-time for injections or do nothing and lose his sight.

He said: "I had three injections privately, before I could be seen by the NHS for the rest of my treatment. Even then, my first NHS injection was delayed by more than a week."

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.

Sign our petition now to demand UK Health Ministers urgently prioritise investment in eye health before hundreds more people suffer avoidable and permanent sight loss.

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