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A Million Miracles

It’s thought that 20 million people worldwide are blind because of cataracts. Thanks to your support, our campaign has raised enough money to provide a million cataract operations.

Winesi March and his wife embrace at the joy of his sight being restored.

in 2014, Sightsavers launched the Million Miracles fundraising campaign to fund a million sight-saving cataract operations in some of the poorest parts of the world.

In 2017, we reached our target of raising £30 million. This amazing achievement was made possible thanks to the generous support of our donors. We’re truly grateful to each and every one of you.

Much of the income we raised during the campaign was matched by the UK government, pound for pound, through the UK Aid Match initiative. The most recent Aid Match scheme ran from 9 October 2017 until 9 January 2018, and helped us to smash our initial target. In total, the Million Miracles campaign raised almost £32 million over the three years, which has helped to change lives worldwide.

“My life has completely changed – I am able to see my wife, my children and my grandchildren again.”
Winesi March, Malawi
Winesi celebrating, very happy after surgery.

What are cataracts?

A cataract is a small build-up of protein in the eye that, if left untreated, can cause blurred vision and eventual blindness. Cataracts can be present from birth, or can be brought on by old age or trauma to the eye.

For most adults, cataracts are completely reversible, but for children there’s an urgency to treat them quickly. Cataracts can stop a child’s eyes from developing properly, and if the cataracts are not treated in time the child’s sight may never return, leaving them permanently blind.

Why is restoring sight so important?

For many people living in poor, rural communities, life without sight can be particularly difficult. If a blind parent needs to rely on their children, those children often miss out on an education. And if a blind child needs to rely on their parents, those parents often can’t earn enough to feed themselves and their family.

Children and adults with visual impairments can be shunned by their family or community, leaving them with very little social interaction. Even the simplest journey can also be extremely dangerous, especially if they live near a lake or river.

Two medical staff in the operating theatre preparing for a cataract operation.

How we treat cataracts

Sight can be restored with a straightforward operation that takes as little as 20 minutes.

More about surgery

More people you’ve supported

Winesi looking at the camera.
Sightsavers Reports

Winesi’s story

Winesi was blind from cataracts, leaving him reliant on his family. Thanks to an operation, he can now support his wife and children.

Criscent proudly wearing his new glasses, as he stands in some woods on the way to his village in Uganda.
Sightsavers Reports

Criscent’s story

Six-year-old Criscent was born with cataracts, leaving him unable to play or go to school. But his sight was restored with a straightforward operation as part of the Seeing is Believing project in Uganda.

Dr Gerald Msukwa smiles at the camera.
Sightsavers Reports

Dr Gerald Msukwa

Dr Msukwa is an ophthalmologist in southern Malawi. He restores sight through cataract operations, and says his passion is helping children to see again.

Laurinda laughing and clapping after cataract surgery.
Sightsavers Reports

Laurinda’s story

Laurinda had been blind for four years. But after a cataract operation to save her sight, she is able to work again and grow crops to feed her family.

A girl is reading a book at home while wearing glasses.
Sightsavers Reports

Smriti’s story

Smriti, who lives in Uchitpurhad in Bangladesh, had cataracts in both eyes, and her poor vision took away much of her confidence. We visit her six years after her cataract operation to see how her life has changed.

Zamurrad sits alone in her home in Pakistan.
Sightsavers Reports

Zamurrad’s story

Zamurrad’s life ground to a halt when she developed cataracts, but a straightforward operation gave her back her independence.

Nazondani Mologeni, 76, sitting on her bed in hopsital.
Sightsavers Reports

Nazondani’s story

At the age of 76, Nazondani still worked on a farm with her husband, but cataracts in both eyes made everyday life a challenge. Now her sight has been restored through surgery.

Baraka plays with a yellow balloon.
Sightsavers Reports

Baraka’s story

Baraka loves a hug, but cataracts meant he couldn’t see the faces of his family. Thanks to donations from people like you, we were able to restore his sight.

Madalitso Nyangulu sitting on his motorcycle.
Sightsavers Reports

Madalitso’s story

Every Wednesday, Madalitso ventures into rural Malawi on a motorbike, ready to screen and treat people with impaired vision.