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Celebrities experience the effects of cataracts using Sightsavers simulator

September 2019
Ruby Hammer using a tablet to test the cataract simulator.
Ruby Hammer was one of the celebrities who used the cataract simulator to view her own postcode.

Sightsavers and People’s Postcode Lottery has invited celebrities to view some of the UK’s favourite landmarks using a new cataract simulator, as part of a push to raise awareness about sight loss.

Broadcaster Fiona Phillips, TV doctor Dr Sara Kayat and celebrity make-up artist Ruby Hammer described their shock at experiencing what living with cataracts could be like. Emotions ran high as they realised  they couldn’t even recognise their own front doors. Click their names to see the videos.

Sightsavers’ online cataract simulator shows how someone living with cataracts might see the world around them. The simulator uses Google Maps Street View to find a postcode or location, with image filters applied to the resulting picture. The three filters simulate how you might see an image if you had mild, medium or severe cataracts.

People’s Postcode Lottery ambassador Fiona Phillips said: “Walking around central London on a busy day is challenging enough sometimes, but to do that with the cataract simulator was an education for me about the difficulties that people with this condition face every day. I could barely make out some of the most famous landmarks in the city. It’s great that support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery is helping Sightsavers to treat this condition for people all over the world.”

Research to mark the launch of the online simulator, commissioned by Sightsavers and People’s Postcode Lottery, asked people which UK landmark they would most like to see. Results showed that a fifth (18%) of people living in the UK want to visit the Eden Project in Cornwall, but none of the celebrities could recognise it using the simulator.

The survey found that the top five landmarks people across the UK most want to see are:

  1. Eden Project (18%)
  2. Buckingham Palace (12%)
  3. Stonehenge (11%)
  4. Belfast’s Titanic Experience (10%)
  5. Edinburgh Castle (10%)

While Cornwall’s Eden Project was the top pick for both genders, women indicated a preference for stately homes and castles, with Buckingham Palace and Edinburgh Castle being ranked higher among women than men.

London landmarks also did well, with respondents citing popular attractions including The Shard, the London Eye, St Paul’s Cathedral and Big Ben. However, all of the sights become unrecognisable when viewed through the cataract simulator.

Tower bridge, with an example of a search box over the image.

What would the world look like if you had cataracts?

Type your postcode into our online simulator to see how cataracts might affect your vision.

Try the simulator

12 million people are blind because of cataracts

What are cataracts?
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