Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of sight loss in the developed world and the third most common globally. It is therefore one of our most urgent public health issues. With our ageing society we face an epidemic of AMD in coming decades. Around 600,000 people in the UK currently have sight loss caused by AMD with around 70,000 new cases every year or nearly 200 every day.

By 2050 that number will more than double to 1.3m.

AMD is currently incurable and largely untreatable. For a minority of people drugs injected into their eyes can limit the damage caused by the condition, but they are not a cure. Older people describe losing their sight as being like bereavement and the impact is equated with suffering a stroke or having an advanced form of cancer. With this personal loss comes a vast and growing economic burden. AMD has been estimated to cost the UK at least £1.6bn a year. The NHS is already unable to cope with the demand for AMD treatment. Outpatient appointments in ophthalmology have risen 30% in recent years. Current treatments are very expensive and the drug costs alone for AMD are now more than £200m a year. And still only half of all AMD is treatable.

There is exciting, world-leading work going on in our universities, research institutions and the NHS.

Many researchers say they believe a solution to AMD is possible and so there are compelling reasons why research into macular disease should have more investment.