This Christmas, Haywards Heath-based charity Sightsavers is hoping to reach its goal of giving a million adults and children across Africa and Asia their sight back.
More than 940,000 operations have already been carried out thanks to Sightsavers’ Million Miracles campaign so far – and until 9 January, every £1 people donate to Sightsavers will be matched by the UK government through the UK Aid Match scheme.
This will go towards projects in Pakistan and Bangladesh, bringing the goal of the millionth operation tantalisingly close.
Recent figures published by the Lancet show 36 million people are blind yet 75% of blindness is preventable or treatable, with developing countries particularly affected. For instance, in Pakistan around 7% of people over 50 are blind, compared to just 0.4% in the UK.
Cataract, an eye condition that takes as few as ten minutes to treat and costs as little as £30, is the leading cause of preventable blindness.
Dr Khalid Ashraf, head of Mandra hospital in Pakistan, said: “A person who becomes blind or visually impaired, his whole family is affected because usually there is only one person who is earning, and if he is unable to carry out his job the whole family suffers, and suffers a lot.
“So when he gets treatment and he can see – that person who was not able to do anything, was sitting at home – now he can earn a living for his family. That changes their whole life. That’s very valuable for them, and for us also, very rewarding and satisfying.”
To watch a high-speed video showing of this sight-saving surgery click here.
To donate to Million Miracles visit https://www.millionmiracles.org.