A Bideford-based support group, which helps to increase the confidence and independence of people affected by macular disease, will hold its next meeting on Tuesday, (May 14).

There is help and advice available at the Bideford and Torridge Macular Support Group in a social setting, with all welcome. Picture: Bideford and Torridge Macular Support Group There is help and advice available at the Bideford and Torridge Macular Support Group in a social setting, with all welcome. Picture: Bideford and Torridge Macular Support Group

The Bideford and Torridge Macular Support Group meets on the second Tuesday of each month, from 10am-12pm, at the Burton Art Gallery and Museum, Kingsley Road.

The group is organised by leading sight loss charity the Macular Society, in partnership with local people. It is one of more than 400 of its kind in the UK and offers information, encouragement and friendship to people who are affected by macular disease.

Macular disease is the biggest cause of blindness 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.

Judy Pride, Macular Society regional manager, said: "The Bideford and Torridge Macular Support Group is here for anybody affected by macular disease - we want to encourage people to come along. Friends and family are also very welcome.

"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.

"The group invites guest speakers on a variety of subjects, including macular conditions and their impact on our daily lives. The meetings are also social occasions where we can chat over a cup of tea."

For more information about the group, contact Judy Pride on 07947 373244 or email judy.pride@macularsociety.org .

For more information about macular disease, call the Macular Society on 0300 3030 111 or email help@macularsociety.org .