New support group for Backwell?

A BACKWELL woman is hoping to start up a support group for people suffering from macular disease.

Shelia Round, aged 75, has suffered from macular disease for 10 years and is desperate to tell others about the help and treatment they can receive when they are first diagnosed.

Sheila, of West Town Road, said: “When I was diagnosed I had never heard of it.

“I thought I was losing my sight and that was so awful.

“Because of this, I’m passionate about telling people where they can get help.”

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People suffering from macular disease lose their central vision when the macular – a small area of the retina at the back of the eye – is damaged.

Macular disease is the most common cause of visual impairment in the developed world and in the UK around 250,000 people are registered as visually impaired because of the condition.

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The disease is commonly found in people over 60, but early diagnosis can often halt the symptoms and even improve their sight a little.

Mrs Round said: “There are two types of the disease - wet macular and dry macular. Wet affects a much smaller amount of people, but there is a drug which is injected into the eye which can stop the progress of it if you treat it quickly enough.

“It’s important that people recognise the signs and get themselves straight to the eye hospital.

“Had it not have been for the injections, I could have lost my central vision.”

The support group would be run under the auspices of the Macular Disease Society.

Sheila said: “I want to set up a support group to tell people what low vision aids there are and so people can listen to others with similar problems and find out how to get through it.”

Sheila is also a volunteer speaker for the Macular Disease Society to try to raise awareness of the disease.

Anyone interested in joining the support group or booking Sheila for a talk can call 01275 462107.

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