Sightsavers are launching an ambitious major appeal, Million Miracles, to raise £30 million by 2018 in order to deliver 1 million cataract operations in some of the poorest parts of the world. Our vision is so important to us. I cannot begin to list the things I would miss if my vision was compromised – my children’s smiles would be top of the list though. My Dad recently needed operations on the cataracts in both eyes and has kindly shared his experience in his own words:-
“The first thing I noticed was a slight loss of vision in my right eye. It was like having a very fine yellow screen over my eye and my vision was starting to deteriorate quite rapidly. Night-time was the most noticeable with street lights and other driver’s headlights flaring in an alarming manner. I was due an eye -test and so I thought I would bring the issue up then.
The sight in my right eye had deteriorated considerably since the last eye test (12 months) and I was only able to identify about half the letters on the eye test chart. On further examination the optician diagnose an advanced cataract in my right eye and the early stages of one in my left eye. The eye consultant recommended a cataract op for the right eye with a reassessment of the left eye six months after the first replacement.
I was very apprehensive about the procedure. Your eyes are very sensitive and the thought of someone cutting into them was frightening. On the day of the procedure the nurse gave me a further eye test – I could only read the huge letter at the top of the chart! I was taken into a pre-op room where there were several others waiting. You are all asked to attend at the same time but do not know when you will be called. The nurses were very kind and applied drops at regular intervals to open your iris and to disinfect your eyes. My surgeon came in, explained the procedure, and reassuringly painted an arrow on my forehead to identify the eye to be corrected. After about an hour I was taken to the anteroom of the operating theatre. The anaesthetic drops were then applied.
Inside the theatre my head was shrouded with just the eye exposed. This was held open by tape and drops were constantly applied to keep the eye comfortable. All I could see was a very bright light which seemed to change colour as the op proceeded. There was no pain at all, just slight discomfort. The surgeon explained what he was doing through the process and it was all over in ten minutes or so.
A transparent eye cover was fitted, some antibiotic drops issued with firm instructions on their importance and then I was discharged. My wife drove me home as the eye remained totally blurred. I had been advised that this is normal and would be gone by the morning.
My eye needed gentle bathing the morning and when fully opened it was miraculous. I could see everything with great clarity. It was a huge buzz. Such a fantastic procedure performed in a short time with spectacular benefits. THANK YOU NHS.”
We are blessed to live in a country with accessible and free healthcare for all, but for so many in other parts of the world this is just not the case. Blindness in a developing country can be devastating; leaving you isolated and excluded, without access to an education or able to work to support your family – you are completely reliant on those around you. It’s not surprising then that people often say that it feels like a miracle when they get their sight back.
Sightsavers have set the ambitious target of raising £30 million pounds in order to carry out a million of the operations my father underwent. The ‘Million Miracles’ launch event is an innovative, live digital storytelling event that will, via LIVE Google Hangouts from Malawi, Africa and traditional media & other social media channels, take the global audience on an emotional and inspiring journey. It will show what impact Sightsavers work has and it will allow us to See the Miracle.
You’ll meet Mr Winesi who, due to bilateral cataracts, has been totally blind for two years. He has never seen his grandson Luca, and misses seeing his beautiful wife Namaleta. He can no longer work and provide for his family. In a few months their food stores will run out and they will go hungry as he is unable to work.
It needn’t be this way. All it takes is a 5 minute operation that costs £30 pounds to change his life, and the lives of his family.
Join SightSavers on the 8th October at 1.30 UK time as one of the few cataract surgeons in Malawi delivers the 5 minute life-changing operation. Hosted by UK YouTuber star Doug Armstong you’ll meet Mr Winesi, and all the health worker heroes delivering this vital work.
Then re-join on the 9th October at 1.30 UK time as we remove the bandages and Mr Winesi can see for the very first time. He will be able to see his wonderful wife, and hold and see his grandson Luca for the very first time.
Malawi has just 1 eye surgeon for every 4.25 million people and Dr Gerald, who is performing the surgery on Mr Winesi, is the only paediatric surgeon in the whole of Malawi.
Follow Sightsavers campaign and DONATE here. The UK Government is supporting A Million Miracles and, until 31st December, all UK donations will be matched! This means a £30 donation to fund a cataract operation actually saves the sight of two people!
I know my father really appreciates having access to the sort of healthcare that restored his vision, this campaign is about providing that for a million people who don’t have that access normally. What would you miss most if you couldn’t see?
Love Miss Cisco XXX
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