Sightsavers to host free exhibition on London’s Southbank to mark World Sight Day

Image: Zamurrad Bibi, 55, before her cataract operation, pictured at her home in Awan town, Rawalpindi District, Punjab, Pakistan.

According to new research published in The Lancet (for World Sight Day), a combination of an ageing global population and lifestyle changes is set to drive a steep rise in avoidable blindness unless efforts to combat them are stepped up.

The Lancet identifies the causes behind a predicted tripling of the number of blind people by 2050 unless action to combat them is stepped up – highlighting the importance of increasing efforts to tackle preventable blindness, the biggest cause of which is cataract.

Ghulum Murtaza, 30, is surrounded by members of his family at their shared home in Dhadda Kharu, near Pindi Bhaddian, Pakistan. Ghulum suffers from bilateral cataracts and was forced to leave his job in Saudi Arabia and return home because of his poor vision.

To mark World Sight Day, leading charity Sightsavers has announced a final push in its Million Miracles campaign to raise funds for one million cataract treatments in developing countries.

Through the UK Aid Match scheme, donations to the Million Miracles appeal will be matched pound for pound by the UK Government, doubling the impact of the UK public’s support (between now and 9 January 2018).

Million Miracles was launched in 2014 to raise the money to pay for a million cataract operations for adults and children across Africa and Asia, so far it has raised funds to pay for more than 811,000 surgeries.

Cataract is among the most easily treatable conditions in the UK and is associated with an ageing population. However, in many developing countries, a lack of available treatment means cataract is set to be a growing problem.

Kausar Shaheen pictured outside her home in Manhiala, Chakwal District, Pakistan. Kausar suffers from cataracts in both eyes that severely restrict her vision

To mark the start of the appeal Sightsavers is hosting a public exhibition on London’s Southbank showing the transformative impact on people’s lives of cataract surgery.

The free exhibition will run on the Southbank from 12 to 29 October, 2017, and will be inclusive for anyone with a disability (including limited vision) with braille included at all points and tactile flooring on all walk ways. The exhibition shows three different case studies of how cataract surgery can totally give someone their life back.

There will be a text to donate number at the exhibition so people can donate to help raise funds for people living with avoidable blinding conditions. Money raised from this appeal will be matched by the UK government, pound for pound, until 9th January 2018

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