Eyesight is something I take for granted. I do wear spectacles which means that my vision is not 20/20 but the main thing is – I can see. I can see my family, my home, my neighbourhood, enjoy a sunset – enjoy the day to day routine without a thought to my eyes.
What would it be like to be blind? It’s a scary thought, one I don’t want to think about.
My father recently had the cataract operated in both eyes and I can see how much that has changed his eyesight.
Cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lens, is the number one cause of blindness in the world. I had always thought that cataract is something that affects only older people but I was surprised to know that it affects children too.
I know that the surgery takes about 20 minutes (judging from my father’s experience) and costs just £30 for an adult and £50 for a child(they need a general anaesthetic). But millions are needlessly living with sight loss; they might not know treatment is available, healthcare services sometimes aren’t available or people can’t afford to get to hospitals, let alone pay for an operation.
Blindness in a developing country can be devastating; you’re often isolated and excluded, unable to get an education or work to support your family so you’re completely reliant on those around you. It’s hardly surprising then that people often tell us it feels like a miracle when they get their sight back.
That’s why Sightsavers is launching A Million Miracles. It’sa huge goal – raising £30 million to fund sight-restoring procedures by 2017 – and inviting everyone to
be part of the first miracle.
Winesi’s been losing his sight for 12 years and he’s been completely blind for two. He’s never seen his youngest grandson. On 8th October, reporting live over Google+ hangout from Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Malawi, we’ll follow Winesi before, during and after surgery (don’t worry, it won’t be gory!), guided by the incredible surgical team.
And on 9thOctober we’ll join him as the bandages come off and he sees clearly
for the first time in years. Sometimes in this situation we see tears, sometimes singing and dancing.
Either way it’s always an incredibly special moment.
Using the hashtag #SeeTheMiracle, the story will unfold on:www.milionmiracles.org
How can you help?
- Share this post so that everyone (and I mean everyone) gets to know about this project.
- If you blog and would like to help, email email@example.com
- Watch the live broadcasts and again help spread the word on social media.
- Join the campaign and donate here.
- Follow Sightsavers on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook not forgetting Google + and You Tube.
It’s amazing what we can achieve when we all act together.
Here is The March Family’s story
“Everyone in this family will be happy”
Winesi March’s family is a big one. He and his wife Namaleta have 13 children in
total, as well as many grandchildren. There’s Yulita, Frackson, Ethel, Flora, Luka,
Lett, Samson, Yelesi, Alan… and that’s just for starters.
Winesi’s sight loss has affected all of them, and this is often an underestimated cost
of avoidable blindness: the impact on the whole family.
“I feel sorry for my family,” says Winesi. “Becauseof my eye problem, I can no
longer provide as I used to do in the past. I have some maize that I harvested last
year remaining, but my worry is that once it’s finished, I won’t be able to support my
family. I’m worried that they will suffer.”
He continues: “Everyone in this family is affectedbecause of my blindness.
Sometimes my children and my grandchildren fail to do what they want to do
because they have to be around to help me. They can’t play with their friends or do
other activities, because they have to be here to protect my life. There are times
when my wife is away and my children can’t go to school because they have to look
The impact is biggest on Namaleta, who now has to do the work of two people to
keep the household running and work to provide forthe family. Winesi relies on her
to lead him around, and although he’s known for a while that his cataracts could be
treated at the hospital, he’s needed his wife to assist him to get there, and for various
reasons – illness, bad timing, being unable to afford transport costs, the long walk on
uneven roads – this hasn’t been possible.
Now Winesi’s preparing for his surgery on 8 October, and while it’ll certainly change
his life, it’ll also make life a great deal easier for the whole family, particularly
Namaleta. Winesi can’t wait: “I will be very happy when I regain my sight. I will feel
that I am the luckiest person on this earth,” he says. “I will also make celebrations
with my family… Everyone in this family will be happy.