UCL Institute of Ophthalmology


Millionsacross UK will go blind by 2050, warns new report

22 November 2016

A new report endorsed by experts at the Institute of Ophthalmology has warned that millions of Britons will go blind from age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by 2050.

The Macular Society’s report, ‘Age-related macular degeneration: collaboration to find a cure’, funded by the Clothworkers’ Foundation, predicts that the number of people affected by AMD will rise from 600,000 today to 1.3 million by 2050 – equivalent to 400 new cases every day.

AMD is a progressive disease that is currently incurable. Professor Phil Luthert of the IoO said, “AMD is increasingly recognised as a colossal healthcare challenge and, despite major advances in genetics, epidemiology, pathogenesis and imaging, we still don’t understand how to prevent early disease progressing to blinding disease.”

The Macular Society reports that that of the £22.7m spent on eye disease medical research in 2014, just £6m was spend on AMD research; AMD costs the UK £1.6bn annually. The report recommends bringing researchers together in a unified approach to AMD research, and securing a new funding model to support it.

A number of eye experts are leading the campaign for funding, including, from the IoO: Professor James Bainbridge; Dr Christos Bergeles; Dr Amanda Carr; Professor Andrew Dick; Professor Glen Jeffery; Professor Stephen Moss; Sobja Sivaprasad; and Dr Anthony Vugler.