But it makes little difference to Kausar: she’s been gradually losing her sight to cataracts for the past four or five years.
Kausar and her husband Shaukat run a business cooking chapatis for their village. Her large family relies on the small income so they can buy food, so when Kausar’s sight loss began to affect her business she knew things were serious.
“I found counting money very difficult,” she says. “It was difficult for me to see the notes and coins. For a few days I [accidentally] gave extra money to the clients. When we were counting the money, we had less, so I realised that I had problems.”
Before her sight began to deteriorate, it was Kausar who looked after everyone in the family. With three sons, five daughters and many grandchildren to take care of, she used to be very active: chopping wood in the forest, walking to the lake to wash clothes, travelling to the village in a tuk-tuk to visit the market. But she soon became completely reliant on others.
“I was nervous [when I walked around]. Sometimes I fell down. My son went with me everywhere – I didn’t go out very often. I went to my oven and I came back. We were in difficulty – our life was miserable.”
Kausar was desperately worried about the burden she was placing on her family, especially as her sight loss was the latest in a long list of family misfortunes. One of her sons died a few years ago and two other sons have had serious accidents.
Kausar has pains in her legs and difficulty eating, and Shaukat’s health is deteriorating too. With the added worry of sight problems, the future for the family felt uncertain. “I was desperately longing for my eyesight,” she says.
It wasn’t until a neighbour told Kausar about free eye surgeries at a Sightsavers partner hospital that Kausar realised her sight could be restored. Shaukat took her to the hospital, where she was diagnosed with cataracts and given a date to return for surgery. Although she was nervous about having the operation, Kausar decided that “vision is more important”.
The day after the surgery, her courage pays off. When Kausar’s bandage is removed, her face, which was creased with worry before, breaks out into a huge smile. “I am happy!” she exclaims. “The eye that was operated: I can see from it! I am too happy. It is much better than I expected – I can see down [points to the floor] and I can walk on my own.”