Four top blindness charities have announced they have entered into a new partnership to find a treatment for one of the world’s leading causes of blindness. The charities involved are Fight for Sight, Blind Veterans UK, the Macular Society and Scottish War Blinded, the charities have launched a new collaboration to transform the funding of research to address age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
The collaboration, called Action Against AMD, is a response to the increasing prevalence of sight loss among the world’s ageing population. AMD is by far the biggest cause of visual impairment in the developed world and the third biggest globally.
In the UK 600,000 people are living with late-stage AMD today, a figure set to double by 2050. In spite of this, only a small fraction, 0.2%, of public funding for research is spent on AMD.
Blind Veterans UK and Scottish War Blinded both support ex-service men and women with sight loss. They have not previously funded medical research but have decided to join the collaboration because most of their members are blind as a result of AMD. The Macular Society is the leading support and research charity specifically for people with macular diseases.
The aim of the partnership is to develop an intervention that prevents early stage AMD progressing to the point where people lose their sight. The charities have agreed to co-fund a three-year development project, worth £1m, to kick-start the generation of new funding streams to invest in the necessary research.
Michele Acton, Fight for Sight’s CEO, said: “I’m thrilled that more organisations are recognising the need to invest in vital eye research. It is only by such investment that we will be able to address conditions such as AMD”.
In a joint statement issued today, Michele Acton and the other CEOs of the collaborating charities, Nick Caplin at Blind Veterans UK, Cathy Yelf at the Macular Society and Mark O’Donnell at Scottish War Blinded said:
“We are delighted to be working together on this exciting campaign. Action Against AMD will change the face of biomedical research into this terrible disease and, in time, change the lives of millions of older people in the UK and around the world.
“Sight loss is devastating yet there is far too little priority given to eye research by government and research councils. In addition, the big charities in other health sectors fund hundreds of millions of pounds of medical research. Sadly for blind and partially-sighted people, that support is missing from the eye sector.
“AMD is now a huge public health challenge. Action Against AMD will be raising awareness of the urgent need for research into this disease and generating new investment for this vital area of eye research.”
More information can be found on the AAA web site: www.actionagainstamd.org