A NEW support group which aims to help increase the confidence and independence of people affected by sight loss living in and around Ruthin, is set to launch with a telephone meeting.

The Ruthin Macular Society Support Group will hold its first meeting at 1pm on Thursday June 4.

As the group will not be able to meet in person due to the coronavirus outbreak, the first meeting will be held by conference call.

The group will then hold telephone meetings at the same time on the first Thursday of each month, until social distancing measures have been lifted.

The ongoing aim of the group will be to offer information, encouragement and friendship to people affected by macular disease.

Macular disease is the biggest cause of sight loss in the UK. Nearly 1.5 million people are currently affected and many more are at risk. The disease can have a devastating effect on people’s lives, leaving them unable to drive, read or see faces. Many people affected describe losing their sight as being similar to bereavement. There is still no cure and most types of the disease are not treatable. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common form of macular disease, affecting more than 600,000 people, usually over the age of 50.

Marian Williams, Macular Society regional manager, said: “We’re delighted to be launching this new group. Although our face-to-face services have had to be suspended for the time being, it’s absolutely vital that the people who need our support continue to receive it.

“This group is here for anybody affected by sight loss and we want to encourage as many people as possible to call in to our meetings. Friends and family are also very welcome too.

“It’s good to be able to learn from each other’s experiences and get tips. The peer support can be so helpful. Our groups can really help people increase in confidence and become more independent.”

If you would like to take part in the group’s first telephone meeting, please contact Marian Williams on 07495 054 053, or email marian.williams@macularsociety.org

For information on other services currently available from the Macular Society, please call the charity’s Advice and Information Service on 0300 3030 111 or email help@macularsociety.org