The Carrickfergus Macular Society Support Group will be taking a break for Christmas and will not hold its monthly meeting in December.
Instead, the group will next meet on Tuesday, January 28 from 11am-12.30pm at Carrickfergus Library, 2 Joymount Court, Carrickfergus BT38 7DQ.
The group will then meet at the same time and venue on the fourth Tuesday of each month.
The Macular Society, together with local people, organises the group, which aims to offer information, encouragement and friendship to people who are affected by macular disease and other sight loss conditions.
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.
Karen Toogood, Macular Society regional manager, said: “The Carrickfergus Macular Society Support Group is here for anybody affected by macular disease and 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.”
In Northern Ireland, the Macular Society has been able to establish and run new sight loss support groups across the country thanks to £650,000 of National Lottery funding from the National Lottery Community Fund (formerly the Big Lottery Fund). This vital investment has enabled the charity to triple the number of its support groups in Northern Ireland, and deliver a range of other vital services since 2009.